Saturday, October 23, 2021

The north-south conundrum




#  Surely topography was crucial. North London is hilly. Not enough to hinder urban development, but enough to hinder the kind of dense surface-rail network needed to serve it.

#  The surface rail network was possibly more extensive than you may think, as many of the tube extensions to North London were, with a few exceptions, over the existing lines of the railway companies-LNER, LMS and GWR.

#  It is a pity that the Alexandra Palace branch was not completed as that would likely have covered some of the area where TfL want Crossrail 2. I could have walked there, but had to get a bus to either Highgate or Bounds Green in order to catch a tube. I did sometimes walk to New Southgate & Friern Barnet station (now just New Southgate) for the main line, which is the intended terminus of Crossrail 2.

#  The Piccadilly line extension to Cockfosters, as an exception, was a new route mostly on the surface but had to bore under Old Southgate before re-emerging on the surface, so that bit of topography was not ideal for a surface line.

#  South London has lots of railways but they are an absolute mess to navigate (because of the history of inter-railway competition); the infrastructure is all there but it could really do with service simplification to get that tube-like ease of use


5 comments:

  1. The last comment quoted is bang on the money. South London railways are a mess. When I was a lad I'd visit locomotive sheds all over the capital, the one I feared most was Hither Green. The possibility of getting lost down there have me the heebie-jeebies. Well, I was only twelve or thirteen and travelling alone.

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  2. Certainly the Northern Line to High Barnet was ex-LNER. My father transferred in 1938 from the main-line LNER to the newly opened Tube.

    I seem to remember that there were plans to extend the route to Potters Bar, but WW2 intervened.

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  3. My train spotting trips to London began at High Barnet. In those days there was a Red Rover Ticket which allowed travel on all red buses and the tube, cost about half a crown or less. I would board an 84 bus from St. Albans to High Barnet, which was where the adventure began. In all I would visit Cricklewood, Finsbury Park, Stratford, Hither Green, Old Oak Common and finally Willesden. Then home via Watford Junction. After a few such journeys I was leading a group of almost a dozen younger enthusiasts. Someone must have thought that I was a responsible person!

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    1. A bit of research reveals that the tickets were 6 shillings! That represents a lot help my dad got on his allotment.

      http://www.yellins.com/transporthistory/Tickets/rrt67.jpg

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