A Northern Line train approaches Finchley Central from Mill Hill East on April 20th 2021…
The Mill Hill East branch of the Northern Line is the remnant of the Edgware, Highgate & London Railway’s line to Edgware, which became part of the Great Northern Railway. It was part of the network of lines that connected Finsbury Park to Highgate, Finchley and also High Barnet, often referred to as the ‘Northern Heights Railway’. In 1938, the Northern Line connected to the GNR line at East Finchley and the route was electrified through to High Barnet by 1940 allowing tube trains to provide services to central London. It was originally intended to electrify the Edgware branch from Finchley Central too, but this was temporarily closed at the start WWII. The section to Mill Hill East was reopened in 1941 and electrified to serve Inglis Barracks. After the war, the line beyond Mill Hill East was reopened to freight traffic serving The Hale and Edgware with building materials as London expanded in the post war period. The planned electrification was abandoned though and the line was closed again and the tracks lifted beyond Mill Hill East in 1964.
This view looks across the Dollis Valley from Church End, Finchley. In the photo, the nearest bridge carries the line over Crescent Road in Finchley. Beyond that, the train has just crossed the viaduct over Dollis Brook – this is the highest point above ground level anywhere on the London Underground network, 60ft above the road below and a little more above the bed of the brook. The width of the bridges is indicative that the railway was originally double track. In the distance the line curves past an industrial estate into Mill Hill East Station. Houses on Bittacy Rise nestle in the trees on the horizon.
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