Northern Line


Map Colour:
 Black
First Operated: 1890
Type: Deep Level
Length: 36 Miles/ 58 km
No. of Stations: 50
Night Service: Partial
Current Stock: 1995 Stock  

The Northern Line operates between Edgware, High Barnet & Mill Hill East Stations in North London and Morden Station in South London via two branches, the ‘Bank branch’ goes via Kings Cross St Pancras and the City of London and the ‘Charing Cross Branch’ goes via London’s West End, Charing Cross and Waterloo. Both northern branches meet at Camden Town and then separate again into the London branches immediately after Camden Town this allows trains from any northern branch to run on either of the London branches, both branches call at Euston however the branches have separate platforms here and the Charing Cross branch also has an immediate station between the two at Mornington Crescent. Both branches meet again at Kennington, most trains on the Charing Cross branch terminate at Kennington and operate via a loop which takes them back onto the northbound Charing Cross branch platform at Kennington. The Northern Line is unique in it’s complicated layout of branches and is due to have yet another branch added from the Charing Cross branch platforms at Kennington to Battersea in 2020. It is the fifth longest London Underground line and the second busiest although from 2003 – 2010 it was the busiest London Underground line.

History
The first section of what is now known as the Northern Line opened in November 1890 between Stockwell & King William Street and was the first deep level underground railway in London, this was known as the City & South London Railway (C&SLR) and was built under the supervision of James Henry Greathead. Due to the inconvenient location of King William Street Station it was unable to cope with the passenger flow so the line was extended to Moorgate in 1900 however the line took a different alignment and would no longer serve King William Street Station but would instead serve a station nearby at Bank. Also in 1900 the line was extended south to Clapham Common and in 1907 the line was extended north to Euston.

In 1907 a new railway line known as the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR) opened, the new line ran from Charing Cross Station (known then as ‘Strand’) to Archway (known then as ‘Highgate’) & Golders Green and was owned by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL). In 1931 the UERL took over the C&SLR although continued to operate the lines as separate companies. The CCE&HR was extended a short distance south in 1914 to Embankment (known then as ‘Charing Cross’) to connect with the Bakerloo and District Lines.

Work began in the 1920s to connect the CCE&HR and C&SLR so that an integrated service could operate. The work consisted of a northern extension of the C&SLR to Camden Town where it would then join the CCE&HR, this was originally planned to happen in 1912 however it was delayed by World War I, this extension opened in 1924. Another part of this work was a southern extension of the CCE&HR from Charing Cross to Kennington where it would have separate platforms but would then join up with the C&SLR after the station and continue to Clapham Common, this extension included an intermediate station at Waterloo and opened in 1926.

Whilst the work to connect the CCE&HR and C&SLR was being carried out two more extensions to the lines were also being constructed. The first to be completed was an extension northwards from Golders Green to Edgware, this line used plans originally made for the Edgware and Hampstead Railway (E&HR) which was taken over bu the UERL in 1912. The extension initially opened to Hendon Central in 1923 and then to Edgware in 1924. The other extension also being carried out at this time was a southern extension from Clapham Common to Morden, this extension was originally planned to go as far as Sutton however it agreements were later made with the South Railway to end the line at Morden so that the Southern Railway could later extend their services from Wimbledon to Sutton instead. The Morden extension opened in 1926.

In 1933 the UERL and the Metropolitan Railway (MR) were brought together to form the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB), it was decided that the MR’s subsidiary the ‘Northern City Line’ would operate as part of the Northern Line in preparation for the Northern City Line to be connected to the Northern Line as part of the ‘Northern Heights’ plan.

In the 1930s congestion on the Northern Line increased significantly and so in an attempt to ease congestion on the line an ‘Express Northern Line’ was planned which would run beside the Northern Line in parallel tunnels calling only at Clapham South, Clapham Common, Clapham North, Stockwell, Oval, Goodge Street, Camden Town and Belsize Park. The plans was initially shelved due to the outbreak of World War II however in 1940 work began on the construction of the additional platform tunnels at the stations due to be served by the Express Northern Line which would initially be used as deep level air-raid shelters during World War II, construction at Oval ceased soon after it started due to extensive flooding. When World War II was over plans to construct the running tunnels between the new platform tunnels never happened due to lack of funding and the Express Northern Line was never constructed and the links between the existing Northern Line and the new platform tunnels were all sealed off although access from street level to these platforms remain.

The London Passenger Transport Board announced the New Works Programme in June 1935 which included plans to make the Northern City Line and the London and North Eastern Railway’s (LNER) Alexandra Palace and Edgware/ Mill Hill East branches part of the Northern Line by linking them at Highgate & Edgware and extend the Northern Line from Edgware to Bushey Heath with stations at Brockley Hill and Elstree South with a depot at Aldenham. The plans included electrification of the surface lines and double tracking of the line between Finchley Central and Edgware, track links at Edgware, Highgate & Finsbury Park and new deep level platforms at Highgate. Work began in the late 1930s although was disrupted by the outbreak of World War II and was never completed. The branch from Finchley Central to Edgware was only doubled as far as Mill Hill East and services began running to Mill Hill East to serve the barracks. The Northern City Line was linked from Drayton Park to Finsbury Park in 1976 and due to Finsbury Park not being linked to the Northern Line at Highgate the Northern City Line instead became part of British Rail.

The Northern Line began conversion to TBTC signalling in June 2013 and was introduced in stages, the entire line was converted to TBTC signalling in June 2014 and the line became fully automatic which meant that trains no longer needed a driver to drive them although operators remain in the cab to close the doors and send the train on its way.

Rolling Stock

1995 Tube Stock
The Northern Line uses 1995 Tube Stock trains. In total there are 106 1995 Tube Stock trains in operation on the Northern Line which were introduced between June 1998 and April 2001 to replace the 1959 Stock and 1972 (Mark 1) Stock trains previously in use on the line. The trains were built by Alstom in Birmingham and share many similarities with the 1996 Tube Stock in use on the Jubilee Line also built by Alstom. The trains are equipped with Automatic Train Operation (ATO) and all trains on the Northern Line operate using the ATO system. All trains are six cars in length however some platforms on the Northern Line are too short to accommodate the trains and therefore Selective Door Opening (SDO) is used at these stations. In 2013 all Northern Line trains underwent a refresh which included new flooring, replacing the seat moquette with the new London Underground standard “barman” moquette, repainting the grab rails blue and covering over the door buttons. The refresh also included repainting the outside of the trains. The first train to enter service following the refresh ran on 30th May 2013 and all trains were completed on 13th April 2015. Tthe 1995 Stock is operated by ‘Northern Line Service Provision Ltd. (NLSP)’ (an Alstom Venture) and maintenance is carried out by Alstom Transport Ltd. at all Northern Line depots as well as station fitters based at Kennington and Euston.

Depots

Golders Green
Golders Green is the main depot on the Northern Line and is located adjacent to Golders Green Station.

Morden
Morden is the largest depot on the Northern Line and is located south of Morden Station with tracks leading between the depot and all platforms at Morden.

Edgware
Edgware Depot is located beside Edgware Station.

Highgate
Highgate Depot is located on the former London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) branch to Alexandra Palace.

Other Depots & Sidings
There are sidings located at High Barnett for stabling Northern Line trains overnight. There was another depot at Stockwell although this closed in 1915.

Stations

Current Stations on the Northern Line:
Station Name Opened Additional Information
High Barnet 1st April 1872 Terminus. Northern Line Services introduced on 14th April 1940.
Totteridge & Whetstone 1st April 1872 Northern Line Services introduced on 14th April 1940.
Woodside Park 1st April 1872 Northern Line Services introduced on 14th April 1940.
West Finchley 1st March 1933 Northern Line Services introduced on 14th April 1940.
Mill Hill East22nd August 1867 Terminus. Station closed on 11th September 1939, reopened as a Northern Line Station on 18th May 1941.
Finchley Central 22nd August 1867 Northern Line Services introduced on 14th April 1940.
East Finchley 22nd August 1867 Northern Line Services introduced on 3rd July 1939.
Highgate 22nd August 1867 Northern Line Services introduced on 19th January 1941.
Archway 22nd June 1907 Originally opened as ‘Highgate’, renamed ‘Archway (Highgate)’ on 11th June 1939. Renamed ‘Highgate (Archway)’ on 19th January 1941, renamed again in December 1947.
Tufnell Park 22nd June 1907
Kentish Town 1868
Edgware 18th August 1924 Terminus.
Burnt Oak 27th October 1924
Colindale 18th August 1924
Hendon Central 19th November 1923
Brent Cross 19th November 1923 Station originally opened as ‘Brent’, renamed on 20th July 1976.
Golders Green 22nd June 1907
Hampstead 22nd June 1907
Belsize Park 22nd June 1907 This station includes two additional platforms beside the main platforms originally planned for use by the ‘Express Northern Line’ but were instead used as air-raid shelters during World War II.
Chalk Farm 22nd June 1907
Camden Town 22nd June 1907 This station includes four Northern Line platforms, one Northbound to the High Barnet/ Mill Hill East branch, one Northbound to the Edgware branch and two southbound to either of the Bank or Charing Cross branches.
Mornington Crescent 22nd June 1907
Euston 12th May 1907 This station includes four Northern Line platforms, one Northbound from the Charing Cross branch to Mornington Crescent and Camden Town, one Northbound from the Bank branch directly to Euston, one southbound to the Bank branch and one southbound to the Charing Cross branch. The Bank branch platforms have cross platform interchange with the Victoria Line.
Warren Street 22nd June 1907
Goodge Street 22nd June 1907 Originally opened as ‘Tottenham Court Road’, renamed on 3rd September 1908.
Tottenham Court Road 30th July 1900 Northern Line Services introduced on 22nd June 1907.
Leicester Square 15th December 1906 Northern Line Services introduced on 22nd June 1907.
Charing Cross 10th March 1906 Northern Line Services introduced on 22nd June 1907.
Embankment 30th May 1870 Northern Line Services introduced on 13th September 1926.
Waterloo 8th August 1898 Northern Line Services introduced on 13th September 1926.
King’s Cross St. Pancras 1863 Northern Line Services introduced in May 1907.
Angel 17th November 1901
Old Street November 1901
Moorgate 1865 Originally opened as ‘Moorgate Street’, renamed on 24th October 1924. Northern Line Services introduced in 1900.
Bank 25th February 1900 The Waterloo & City Line’s ‘City Station’ was linked to Bank Station in 1900 and become part of the Bank Station complex. Monument Station was linked to Bank on 18th September 1933.
London Bridge 25th February 1900
Borough 18th December 1890
Elephant & Castle 18th December 1890
Kennington 18th December 1890 Terminus of the majority of trains from the Charing Cross Branch. This station has four Northern Line platforms, one northbound platform from the Kennington Loop to the Charing Cross branch, one northbound platform to the Bank branch, one southbound platform from the Bank branch to Morden and one southbound platform from the Charing Cross branch to the Kennington Loop which brings trains back into the northbound platform on the Charing Cross branch, some trains from the Charing Cross branch join the Bank branch trains towards Morden and some trains from Morden go onto the Charing Cross branch.
Oval 18th December 1890
Stockwell 4th November 1890 Cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line. The station was originally sited to the north of the current station, the original station closed on 29th November 1923 and the new station opened on 1st December 1924. This station includes two additional platforms beside the main platforms originally planned for use by the ‘Express Northern Line’ but were instead used as air-raid shelters during World War II.
Clapham North 3rd June 1900 This station is one of only two London Underground stations with an underground island platform. This station includes two additional platforms beside the main platforms originally planned for use by the ‘Express Northern Line’ but were instead used as air-raid shelters during World War II.
Clapham Common 3rd June 1900 This station is one of only two London Underground stations with an underground island platform. This station includes two additional platforms beside the main platforms originally planned for use by the ‘Express Northern Line’ but were instead used as air-raid shelters during World War II.
Clapham South 13th September 1926 This station includes two additional platforms beside the main platforms originally planned for use by the ‘Express Northern Line’ but were instead used as air-raid shelters during World War II.
Balham 6th December 1926
Tooting Bec 13th September 1926 Originally opened as ‘Trinity Road’, renamed on 1st October 1950.
Tooting Broadway 13th September 1926
Colliers Wood 13th September 1926
South Wimbledon 13th September 1926 Originally opened as ‘South Wimbledon (Merton)’, the suffix unofficially fell out of use from the 1950’s.
Morden 13th September 1926 Terminus.

Former Northern Line Stations:
Station Name Opened Service Withdrawn Additional Information
King William Street 18th December 1890 24th February 1900 Replaced by Bank Station.
City Road 17th November 1901 8th August 1922
South Kentish Town 22nd June 1907 5th June 1924