Freedom Pass Project – Update

Following my trip to Tower Hill and Tower Gateway, reported in my last Freedom Pass post, I had an enforced break after I developed an issue with my foot. That has now cleared up and I’m back to normal mobility again – Slightly faster than the average snail 😉

Sunday dawned bright and the recent winds had dropped – it was a glorious day! I usually relax indoors on Sunday’s. There’s not much freight about and services are reduced on the main lines. However, on much of the London Underground, Sunday service is not much reduced compared with weekdays. I decided I would visit the three northern termini of the Northern Line. This is my local line so I only had to walk down to one of the nearest stations to begin my documentation for this one. Although it is local, I still managed to take some 40 images while I was out and about! The starting point is Finchley Central. We’ll be back here soon to tell more but the first trip of the day is up the line to High Barnet.

We’re in an area that was bypassed by the mainlines in the early days of the railways because of the high ground around Barnet. That left the villages of Finchley and Edgware unserved. There is a lot of history involved but suffice it to say here that ultimately a line was built from Finsbury Park through Finchley to Edgware in 1867 and a branch from Finchley to Barnet was added in 1872. Operated initially by the Great northern Railway, they became part of the LNER and were absorbed into the London Underground network in 1939 when the Northern Line was extended north from Highgate to connect with the LNER line at East Finchley. This explains the non-London Underground style of architecture found along much of the route.

Lets get the show on the road – This is the end of the line at High Barnet…

High Barnet (3)

…Beyond the access walkway is a wooded steep bank close on 50ft high up to street level. Looking back towards the station we can see the original footbridge…

High Barnet (5)

…and a view from the other end of the platform shows the waiting rooms and the main station building hiding behind the trains…

High Barnet (6)

…You can also see the buildings on the hill beyond the station too. From High Barnet I’m going back to Finchley Central.

Time to talk about an anomaly – Finchley Central, up until the current part-closure of the Bank Branch, was the terminus for a shuttle service to & from Mill Hill East outside of peak periods. I don’t know if the intention is to return to that method of working when the work at Bank is complete. But to be on the safe side, here’s a train for Mill Hill East arriving on platform 1 at Finchley Central…

51684 at Finchley Central

…And I’m taking that to Mill Hill East – the second of our termini for the day.

Mill Hill East wasn’t built as a terminus – it was a stop on the line across to Edgware. The arrival of the Underground at Edgware, combined with the war and abandoned electrification of the route, killed off the line beyond and Mill Hill East was left as a single track stump…

Mill Hill East

You can still walk quite a bit of the track bed beyond and maybe I’ll do that again in the future for a post. But for this post I now have to use one of my old photos of the station…

Mill Hill East

…as I had to hurry downstairs to catch a bus across to Edgware!

I said bus, so the introduction to Edgware Station is Edgware Bus Station!..

Edgware Bus Station

…Served by 17 routes, it’s pretty busy, even on a Sunday. A constant stream of buses arrive from all over north London, dropping their passengers off beside the train station before entering the bus station proper…

Arriva HV214 (LK66HDA) at Edgware

Edgware Station is pure London Underground. Opened in 1924, sadly, some of the intended grandeur has been lost as the village of Edgware has become a town and the building is dwarfed by its surroundings…

Edgware Station (1)

Inside the station there is a mystery – if you build 3 platforms, why only provide shelter on 2 of them…

Edgware Station (2)

…As might be expected, the answer is that the closest platform was added later – I believe in 1932. At one stage this platform was turned into an Island platform in preparation for an extension of the line north to Bushey Heath.

The interior of the trainshed at Edgware has a steam era feel although it was always an electric railway…

Edgware Station (6)

There’s an interesting mini-waiting room hidden under the stairs down on the platform along with an original station name board…

Edgware Station (5)

…Love that ‘W’👍 As mentioned above, there were plans in the 1930’s to extend the line north to Bushey Heath – In this view looking north along platform 3, you can see the tunnels that were started to take the line under the main road outside…

Edgware Station (4)

…but the work was abandoned with the onset of WWII and the subsequent introduction of the ‘Green Belt’ afterwards put an end to further development and the extension of the line.

To end my visit to Edgware, here’s a view of the main trainshed from platform 1…

51519 at Edgware

…The building alongside is a depot and the brick building was once the signal box.

Then it was time to head home, taking the train down to Golders Green. In the past, Golders Green was a terminal for some services on the Edgware Branch so, for completeness, here’s a train pulling into the centre platform…

51524 at Golders Green

…and on the platforms we can find some more ‘Old London Underground’ signage…

Golders Green Station (2)

…with modern sticky labels telling about the part-closure of the Bank Branch.

Outside the station is another very busy bus station…

Golders Green Bus Station

…With the one-time Golders Green Hippodrome as a backdrop. Time to get on the bus and make my way home to conclude my Freedom Pass Project day out😎


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