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.

Catch up with Clare’s Share Your Desktop challenge Here.

Taking possible subjects from Cee’s photo this week’s Midweek Madness Challenge, lets start with wagons. I can’t tell for certain if the one in the photo is a grain or bulk powder car, so I’ve picked a shot of Cement wagons…

…passing through Acton. These are empties that, having delivered a load for London’s construction industry, are on their way back to Hope in Derbyshire for their next load.

Ladders – Finchley’s Green Watch demonstrate using a ladder for a rescue at the annual station open day…

Finally, taking the slogan ‘we will deliver’ I remembered this truck…

… belonging to Stand & Deliver and appropriately carrying a Highwayman logo 😉

Last week both Euro and American Truck Simulator games were updated to version 1.40. This means that I have spent almost all week driving trucks to the detriment of everything else. Now I could post a Truck photo for this challenge but I’ve sorted out some other things instead.

The obvious to start with – Church…

…This is Holy Cross Old Church in Greenford Magna. Some parts of the building date to the 13th century although the wooden bell tower is as recent as the 16th century and the flint coating on the walls was added in the 19th century!

Perhaps a little less obvious, Football Pitch…

…This is, of course, Wingate & Finchley’s home. It is a traditional grass pitch. Quite a few clubs now have ‘all-weather’ artificial pitches.

And finally, I have a couple of Track Machines. These have a variety of roles in the maintenance of railway track. The first is a Stoneblower – used to force fine-grained ballast under the sleepers to level the track…

…That was work that would have been done by a gang of labourers in the past. The machine is more efficient and probably more accurate. There are many other types like Tampers and Ballast Cleaners, all allowing more efficient maintenance of what the railway companies like to call the Permanent Way. The second of our Track Machines is a Railhead Treatment Train (RHTT)…

…These are seasonal, coming out in the autumn when leaves are falling from the trees to keep the rail clean so that trains have good adhesion. These have been built to deal with a relatively new problem – it seems that the move to disc-brakes means that the trains wheels are not kept clean in the manner that they were by the old style clasp-brakes and a build up of leaf-litter results in a loss of traction and braking power. This type is a Multipurpose Vehicle – It can also de-ice the conductor rail in winter and in summer the water tanks can be replaced with herbicide tanks and the train deployed to kill weeds.

Catch up with Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge Here.