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Rails through Finchley While reading up for this talk I came across this poster on the front of a book, and I think it is as good an introduction to this talk as any. [Slide 01] It shows a way from Finchley to town via the tram to Golders Green then by Hampstead Tube. In the 1920s and 30s there were many more ways of getting into London by rail than there are today; None of these routes to the city are now available in their entirety. A hint of changes can be got if you wonder why a large viaduct across the Dollis Brook would be considered economic for travelling just one stop, if you walk along disused tracks, or, looking at early ordnance survey maps consider why the railway through Finchley is marked as the Edgware Line, when we know it as the Barnet Branch. This talk will chart the rise and fall of rails through Finchley.  [Slide02] The talk is in four parts, starting with the railway, Finchley’s first rails; then the ephemeral tramways, around for about 30 years; we’ll follow the development of the tube railway leading to the Northern Line and see how these developed into the system we have today. Part 1. Finchley gets a railway [Slide 03] Railways started appearing in London from 1838 onwards. [Slide 04] We’ll use this map of railways before 1855 (from the same book) to set the scene. The Northern Heights were always seen as a challenge; The London & North Western Railway (in red) avoided them, as had the Romans. Notice the Great Northern Railway along the eastern edge. The East &West India Docks and Birmingham Junction Railway, built to link the LNWR to the docks, (later renamed the North London Railway), is also part of our story; notice that the Midland Railway to St Pancras has not yet arrived. An early proposal to conquer the heights in 1844 with a line from Willesden to Hornsey with a branch from Hendon via Finchley to Barnet came to nothing. But in 1860, (As George Wilmot relates The Railway in Finchley) The Reverend Thomas Reader White, Rector of Finchley, was greeted by an enthusiastic clamour when he announced (with the support of the Vestry) the possibility that the railway was coming to Finchley. At that time, the horse-drawn omnibuses into town took one and a half hours, and unless you booked, you were not guaranteed to get a seat. So now let us look at the original proposal for a line through Finchley. In 1861 two proposals were promoted in the Commons. One, from the North Metropolitan Junction Railway, did not present their plans in time and not much is known about it, the other was by the newly formed Edgware, Highgate and London Railway (EH&L). [Slide 5] Their route took the line from Edgware through Burnt Oak, with a station where it crossed Parson Street and another one on Regent’s Park Road near Holly Park and another on Ossulton Way near Brim Hill; thence to Highgate, to a steep 1000 yard tunnel with a bend, and on a viaduct to Tufnell Park and a terminus near King’s Cross. This route did not satisfy the Commons Committee principally because of the tunnel. By placing a terminus near Kings Cross, a potential rival to the Great Northern Railway, the GNR’s interest was aroused and they got involved. The next proposal, on the current alignment, was approved. Instead of going into town, it took the railway from Highgate to a junction with the GNR at Seven Sisters Road (now Finsbury Park). The GNR were engaged to run the railway and provide the trains, staff, signalling and maintenance in return for half the profits, having subscribed to one third of the capital. In 1863 while the railway was under construction, the Great Northern Railway’s arch rival the Midland
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Railway gained approval to extend their main line southwards to St Pancras through Mill Hill. Mill Hill being only seven miles from town on their route compared with eleven via the EH&L line this was a great threat to their profits. Catchment was very important to all railway projects and the EH&L cast around for extensions into untapped territory. [Slide 06] This slide shows the new Midland Railway (in blue) and proposed branch lines intended to extend catchment. In 1864 EH&L successfully beat the Tottenham and Hampstead Railway in securing a branch line from Highgate to Alexandra Palace They also put forward a proposal for a branch line from Church End Finchley up to Barnet. There were two other competing schemes for Barnet to beat first A strange scheme by GNR from Potters Bar via Hadley; they relinquished powers for a New Barnet- High Barnet branch to compete A scheme by The Midland Railway from Cricklewood which follows Ballards Lane and High Road on the eastern side. It went under Church End in a tunnel; trains for the station would need to reverse up a branch onto the Edgware line The EH&L scheme was the most logical and, having the backing of local residents, won through in 1866. Great Northern takes over in 1867 and the line opens Because costs of building the Edgware Line were higher than expected, (partly as a result of slippages at Finsbury Park) GNR took them over before they opened. The Edgware line opened in 1867 It was double track and 18 trains each way from Finsbury Park to Highgate; single track and 10 each way onward to Edgware. Finchleians having complained about delays in construction were soon complaining about the service! Now let’s digress a moment [Slide 07] Here is a map of the Metropolitan Line in 1867 (not very clear, I’m afraid so I’ve added the key names to the original.) The widened lines connection 1868 In 1863, as a result of cooperation between the GNR and GWR, London’s first cut and cover underground railway, the Metropolitan, opened between Bishops Road (Paddington) and Farringdon and with links for the GNR terminus at Kings Cross. Extension to Moorgate was immediately initiated. A second pair of tracks called the widened lines was added to separate Metropolitan trains from GNR’s own. These were soon taking Finchley’s trains to Moorgate, and to Ludgate Hill. Some trains went on to Loughborough Junction and Victoria Notice another line on the map I have coloured green, which would later take Finchley’s trains to Broad Street (more on this later). Notice in passing the projected line from Baker Street to Hampstead. This and an extension to Highgate via Spaniards never materialised. [Slide 08] Here is an artist’s impression of the Widened Lines. The train on the right is a GNR northbound from Ludgate Hill. Behind the other, Metropolitan, train are the Widened Lines. Now let us return to the two branch lines off the Edgware line
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The branch to Barnet opened 1872 [Slide 09] The first branch to open was the double track from Church End to High Barnet in 1872. From the start there were 23 trains each way per day. The intervening single track was made up to double in stages The line from Church End to Edgware remained single track and now operated as a shuttle service with just one through train to the City each day The line included all the stations we know today except for West Finchley, which arrived in 1933 You could be forgiven for thinking this station was older than this – it is! It was second-hand. The branch line to Ally Pally opened 1873 [Slide 10] The other branch line, to Alexandra Palace, opened at the same time as the palace on 24 May 1873 It was extremely popular – nearly 60,000 passengers visited on the bank holiday but on 9 June calamity, the palace burned down! To help combat the flames, the GNR sent two of their own fire engines by rail and these arrived before the local ones Some traffic was generated by people coming to see the ruins but then the line closed until the palace was rebuilt. On reopening there were 90,000 passengers on the bank holiday but there was a derailment at Copenhagen tunnel, north of Kings Cross. Trains backed all the way up the line and many passengers walked home. The fortunes of the branch line closely followed those of the palace, despite the growth of Muswell Hill commuters, and a new station at Cranley Gardens (1902) Now we must return to the E&WID&BR, fortunately renamed the North London Railway! The Broad Street connection, 1874 [Slide 11] The GNR was principally a main line company with an emphasis on freight. It wasn’t prepared for all these low-return passenger trains clogging up its main line station and tunnels, with consequent delays. It therefore approached the North London Railway with a view to diverting some trains to its new London terminus at Broad Street. (This was busier than Paddington and Euston combined.) The North London Railway was dominated by its main customer, the L&NWR who drove a hard bargain – only if you give us right of access to your network, was the reply. A rail link was thus constructed from around Finsbury Park, through a tunnel under Highbury Fields to the NLR line at Canonbury and the distinctive NLR trains started to appear on Finchley’s rails, such that eventually there were almost as many trains to Broad Street as to Moorgate and Kings Cross combined; and yet the bottlenecks continued to disrupt the service. A railway accident 1881  In 1881 the tunnel was the location of one of the railways most serious accidents. [Slide 12] I quote from George Wilmot’s book: “The 8.35 a.m. train from Finchley which had left Finsbury Park bound for Broad Street on the newly opened section of line was stopped by signals at the south end of Canonbury tunnel. It was a minute before nine o'clock on a snowy 10th December. Three or four minutes later this Finchley train was knocked forward slightly by a crash in the rear. Delighted at the break from the daily monotony, a number of passengers eagerly clambered out of the train to find that the 8.58 a.m. from Finsbury Park had run into the rear. They were ordered into the train by the driver who had received cautionary permission to proceed into Canonbury. The Finchley train arrived there
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without damage giving its passengers a lively morning talking point. Unhappily the incidents were only just beginning. The standing 8.58 a.m. from Finsbury Park was struck violently in the rear by the 8.43 a.m. from Enfield. Hardly had some of the passengers alighted from the Enfield train under the escort of a guard and crossed to the other side of the tunnel when a fourth train approached. In spite of the efforts of this guard the fourth train crashed with great impetus into the third train. The engine and carriages reared up and crashed against the walls of the tunnel. The guard, Harry Catherall, ran back the 500 yards to Finsbury Park signal box and was in time to stop a fifth train from entering the tunnel under clear signals. The signalman at Finsbury Park who was so busy sending train after train to death and destruction into the tunnel was neither drunk nor insane. He had not been taken ill. He was not fatigued. Unhappily, as a real relief signalman, he had confused the bell code messages from Canonbury (a box under the auspices of the North London Company) and had interpreted the code "line blocked" as "train able to proceed under caution"…. Six persons were killed and 127 injured as a result of the collisions. Six weeks later there was a severe accident at Hornsey when a sudden dense fog combined with errors of judgement was the contributory cause.” There were of course other accidents, including several people killed at crossings. As a result of litigation at least one new foot bridge on a footpath by Manor Cottages (no longer in use) and a subway at Manor Park Road were built. On one occasion coming into Edgware the driver forgot to apply the brakes with drastic consequences. The railway and Finchley develop around the turn of the century [Slide 14] As time progressed Finchley developed, its population reaching 11,000 in 1881, 16,000 in 1891, 22,000 in 1901 and 40,000 in 1911; the number of passengers increased as did the freight – carrying materials for house construction and coal. There were 36 trains each way in 1876 and this number rose to around 60 in the thirties as saturation point was reached (see graph) however the population continued to grow. Delays at bottlenecks increased in line with the number of trains, and a change to electric was considered by GNR and its successor GNER to increase efficiency, but funds were elusive. Attempts were made gradually to improve the track layouts and provision of sidings. (To change the engine of the Edgware shuttle at Church End originally took the signalman 47 lever movements each time until the junction was modified in 1896). The railway remained Victorian and therefore limiting in capacity. Finchley residents continued to complain about the high fares, the delays (especially at peak times), the lack of shelters for passengers and bicycles, poor lavatories (damp, ladies locked in etc.). Coal deliveries were scheduled outside of rush hour to help. The Edgware line remained a sleepy backwater, for some obscure reason known locally as 'the Pig'. Its relaxed atmosphere was hardly affected by the addition of a wooden halt at The Hale in 1906. The single platform on the north side was constructed just west of the Midland main line bridge in an optimistic attempt to divert some traffic from the new suburb that was growing around the Midland Railway's Mill Hill station. A goods yard was added at The Hale in 1910, when a booking office was placed on an extended platform and a man was posted to look after both goods and passenger business.
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Two new ways to the City from Finsbury Park From the turn of the century (1900) tube railways were beginning to open Two of these were intended as alternative ways for GNR passengers to get into town from Finsbury Park [Slide 15]The Great Northern & City (shown here, opened in 1904) was intended to allow GNR rolling stock to continue into the City, bypassing the widened lines. The tube tunnel was made a whopping 16ft diameter to allow this. Sadly the two companies couldn’t agree terms so the connection was never made. Through tickets were available, though. Note the original wooden rolling stock. The other line was the Great Northern and Strand to Aldwych, opened 1906 as part of the Piccadilly. Finally let’s look at some engines Engines and Engineers The trains were pulled by suburban well or side tank engines. When the Edgware line first opened in 1867 Patrick Stirling had just taken over from Archibald Sturrock as Chief Locomotive Engineer of the GNR. [Slide 16] This Sturrock 0-4-2 well tank engine is similar to the Barnet train and Widened Lines train shown previously. Note the tall funnel and characteristic regulator and absence of steam dome. Stirling introduced similar but more powerful versions, some with side tanks. Stirling was succeeded in 1895 by Henry Ivatt. During Ivatt’s tenure the railways were experiencing large increases in traffic, resulting in a need for engines more powerful than before. Ivatt pushed British locomotive design by being the first to introduce both the 4-4-2 (Atlantic) wheel arrangement from America (shown here) [Slide 17], and the Walschaerts valve-gear to Britain. (The valve-gear that put the chuff-chuff in engines when leaving a station.) His engines had a large steam dome. [Slide 18] Here is an Ivatt N1 0-6-2T at Church End station. Note the relatively rural background! [Slide 19] In 1906 the GNR tried out Ivatt rail buses (carriage and engine mounted on a single chassis) but they were found to be inflexible as they weren’t powerful enough to pull an extra carriage. [Slide 20]  Here’s another. Ivatt was succeeded in 1911 by Nigel Gresley, probably Britain’s most famous designer. In the 1920s  Gresley took Ivatt’s N1 0-6-2 and developed it into the N2, improved all round and with a shorter funnel like this one [Slide 21] at Cranley Gardens (note also in passing, the station building!) and this one [Slide 22] at the newly built EF station. Railways Re-organised in 1923 In 1923 the railways were reorganised by the government: Great Northern became part of LNER while the North London Railway became part of LMS, thus both LNER and LMS had trains running on our rails. However there wasn’t any great improvement in the service. Gresley was chosen as the LNER’s first Chief Mechanical Engineer until he died in 1941. His most famous design was the Mallard. The North London Railway had designs by William Adams (as previously illustrated) Later, as part of Midland Railway/LMS, they were by Fowler (Class 3F 0-6-0T) [Slide 23]. Here’s one emerging from
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Highgate Tunnel. Finally a couple of slides of Finchley Church End. [Slide 24]. Note the carriages, the long dresses, and in the back ground Finchley Power Station. And again [Slide 25]. Pause. Time now to turn to Finchley’s second set of rails – the 30-year era of the trams Part 2: The tram network [Slide 26] Early trams in London from 1869 Rails allowed fewer horses to pull a larger payload, which was financially attractive, especially with a tax on horses. Horse-drawn trams appeared in London in 1869, just two years after Finchley got its railway and started to appear on main roads all over the Capital, up as far as Hampstead Parliament Hill and Archway as well as to Edmonton further east but never penetrated the Northern Heights. A cable tramway was built up Highgate Hill in 1884 but no horse or steam trams ever reached Finchley.  [Slide 27] Electric trams were late to appear in London. The first to open was a small tramway linking Ally Pally with its eastern gates in 1898. Problems with braking on the incline on wet rails prevented operation in wet weather and in less than two years the system was sold off to Grimsby. The local network [Slide 28] Approval was required from the Local Authority before any Tram or Light Railway could be built on the  roads. When the development of tramways got going in Middlesex it was a joint venture between  Metropolitan Electric Tramways (the MET) and Middlesex County Council (MCC). These systems were defined as light railways because the legislation was less onerous than for trams. The deal in 1900 was that MET provided the rolling stock to an approved design operated and maintained the system (including track) and paid an annual rent, part fixed and part relating to profit The MCC would Finance and supervise the construction of tram track carry out the construction and widening of roads and bridges and make land available for depots and generating stations Delays In the Finchley area there was a delay while Finchley Urban District Council fought to provide their own  system. The reason was that their power station provided lighting at night but was idle in the daytime and could usefully supply the trams in the day time. Eventually Finchley capitulated with a bad grace.
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A council minute stated that the proposals by MCC and the MET were “at present unnecessary and  unlikely to be remunerative…”, “the proposed Railway in Oakleigh Park is unnecessary”, “the proposed Railway in Woodhouse Lane is unnecessary”, “the proposed Railway along Ballards Lane and Regents Park Road, without means of access to London, is useless”. As we’ve seen previously, Finchleians could be a stroppy lot! A further delay was involved in choosing a site for the depot (Church End and East End were rejected in  favour of Tally Ho, even though the choice seems obvious to us) The routes through Finchley consisted of a north-south radial route (Great North Road) and an east-west peripheral route. Archway to Whetstone opened June 1905 The radial route, first to open, was from, literally, under the Archway Bridge in the south to Whetstone in the north – the limit of MCC authority. Within six months the London County Council (LCC) had built an extension down to meet their own trams at Archway Tavern, allowing passengers to change and continue into London. It wasn’t until much later that trams could travel on each other’s lines. More on that later. Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and MET extended the line northward to Barnet in 1907 [Slide 29]This photo of High Road North Finchley is an early one, as indicated by the open-top tram and the poles running down the middle of the street. Because of accidents by the growing number of motor vehicles, the poles were moved to the sides around 1910-13. (This is useful when trying to date old postcards.) East-West Connections 1909 [Slide 30] To the east of Tally Ho was Woodhouse Lane, a rural backwater, but it was destined to become part of the route eastwards to Wood Green and on to the City. Finchley had the task of widening the road to 60ft enabling services to start in 1909. The railway bridge on Friern Barnet Road remained a bottleneck until Friern and MCC sorted out their differences over financing a wider one. By the end of the same year services opened westward to Golders Green, enabling interchange with the newly-opened Hampstead Tube. Through-running with LCC 1913 onwards The network was in place, and through-running between networks was the next improvement task. LCC trams had power supplied in below-ground conduit whereas MCC/MET trams had overhead wires, so trams were unable initially to travel over both systems. Soon trams were being kitted out with both overhead boom and underground spade systems and change pits were installed for the changeover at boundaries.
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By 1914 through services via Archway were introduced, such as no 9 from Barnet to Moorgate (every 8 minutes) and Barnet to Tottenham Court Road (also every 8 minutes). Now let’s see these three vehicles from another angle! [Slide 31] About the trams themselves Motor vehicles were to cause a lot of aggro for the tram companies; undercutting their fares and clogging up the roads. A whole series of tram types was developed over time, and the trams in existence were also modified  regularly so it wasn’t always easy to identify the type. The trams were fully reversible, driven from either end and generally did not have a speed indicator. For this talk I have picked out three types over the  duration [Slide 32] The first is the A type, supplied by Brush of Loughborough. They were heavy and already dated when introduced to Middlesex. They were open top with 38 reversible wooden seats and wrought iron scroll work on the upper deck, split stairs at either end open to the elements, as was the driver! Inside were two long benches covered with plush cushions for 32 passengers. There were plush curtains. The side panels displayed the name of the operating company (MET) and the name or badge of the Authority. The colour scheme for MET/MCC trams was red and cream. [Slide 33] It wasn’t long before the upstairs was roofed and extended over the stairs and driver, forming a canopy. By 1909 design had improved, as this H type shows. They were the largest single class in the MET fleet. The upper deck had 46 wooden seats and downstairs had a mix of upholstered transverse seats for 12 and longitudinal seats for 16. Earlier cars were supplied by Brush whereas later ones were made in Hendon. [Slide 34] Later competition with motor buses prodded the MET into a modernisation programme. This included a series of development prototypes (often with flower names). The successful design was revolutionary for the time. Because they were made by Union Construction of Feltham (part of the same Combine – more on this later) they became known as Feltham trams. They were introduced in 1931. The most recognisable feature is the driver’s cab at each end, now separated from the rest of the tram and protected all round except for the windscreen (windscreens were prohibited). It had two sets of passenger doors allowing for a quick ‘turnaround’. They were much lighter construction (4 tons lighter) and wider at the base for stability; and quieter, smoother and more comfortable. The downstairs interior looked much like a bus today. There were standing platforms allowing for 84 passengers in rush hour, 64 seated. They had airbrakes and a domed roof. On Finchley Depot revamp 1930, creation of Kingsway 1935 Finchley depot was created on an important intersection of tramways. [Slide 35] When it opened it had capacity for sixty cars on 15 tracks. Hertfordshire County Council paid rent to store their Barnet trams there. In order to cater for the new Felthams, which were 10ft longer and a little wider than previous trams, the whole building was revamped in 1931. The aim was for the depot to be model for up-to-date ideas, with the introduction of labour-saving equipment for the operations of cleaning and inspection. It was arranged so that debris (dirt, tickets, litter etc.) could be removed without making a mess of the depot itself using vacuum pipes connected to a common point. The facilities for cleaning, washing, inspection and minor
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adjustments were such that it only took five and a half minutes to process a tram. For those with split shifts they installed a “very nice all-electric canteen” where meals could be obtained at cost price and a club room with billiards etc, and a drying room for wet clothes. There was a ‘traverser’ to move trams between bays, shown here. [Slide 36] The map shows the tram lines inked in red. The original layout of the junction between Ballards Lane and the High Road involved the trams in inconvenient reversing, so in 1935, as part of the modernisation programme, a round-about was built, involving the construction of Kingsway. The Gaumont Cinema ended up in the freed up space. [Slide 37] Here is a view of Kingsway looking towards Woodhouse Road before the cinema was built. The end of the trams 1938 [Slide 38] Many tram companies were experiencing a decline as a result of competition by motor buses and the rising costs of maintaining track. With their modernisation programme, the MET seemed to be bucking the trend, but this was about to be stopped in its tracks! A London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) was set up to take responsibility for all buses, trams and tubes in London and In July 1933 they took over from the MET. Despite applying the London Transport livery to the trams it soon became clear their days were numbered. The routes through Finchley were to be replaced by trolley buses (sometimes called diddlers), over a period of two years. This required changes to the overhead wires, and the provision of turnarounds since trolleybuses were not designed to travel in both directions. The last tram to leave Barnet did so at midnight on 5 March 1938. A crowd of some 500 gathered to see it off; some in evening dress; cars were hooting. On arriving at Tally Ho it did a final two laps round the Gaumont Cinema. When it finally stopped, crowds of people proceeded to take anything that could be unscrewed as a souvenir. 68 Felthams were sold to Leeds, at £500 each; the remaining trams were scrapped. Removal of the tracks took many years, although the process speeded up during the war as metal was needed for armaments. Less than thirty years later the trolley buses were to meet the same fate, yielding to the Routemaster. Part 3: the development of the Hampstead Tube [Slide 39] Within a year of the last tram leaving, the tube finally arrived in Finchley. The story of the development of the tube is fascinating so we must go back to the beginning. Tower Subway 1868 [Slide 40] Four years before the Barnet Branch Line opened, London had its first tube railway. Inspired by Marc Brunel’s tunnelling shield for the Rotherhithe tunnel, Barlow and Greathead developed a circular shield for use with cast iron circular segments. The result was the single 1,340ft long 7ft wide tube tunnel railway under the Thames from Pickle Herring Street to Tower Hill called the Tower Subway. The 14-seater car ran on 2ft 6inch rails and was cable driven. The economics did not stack up and it was unreliable; it soon changed to a foot tunnel before closing when Tower Bridge opened. [Slide 41] Here’s
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the entrance by the Tower; I’d passed it many times without realising its significance. (Two views) [Slide 42] Here is a picture of a circular tunnelling shield in action. City & South London Railway (Stockwell to King William Street) 1890 [Slide 43] This project learned from the previous mistakes. It had twin tunnels of 10ft 2in diameter allowing sufficient passenger carrying capacity to be viable. An early switch from cable power to electric was fortuitous as it enabled the lines to be easily extended as time went on. Shortly after opening in 1890, plans were in hand to extend the line to Moorgate, to iron out track difficulties at King William Street, replacing it with a new station at Bank, diverting via London Bridge station with a new tunnel under the Thames and extending southward to Clapham Common (1900). 11ft 6in tunnels were used this time. Further extensions took the tube northward to Angel (1901) then Euston (1907) and southward to Morden (1926) [Slide 44] Mather & Platt built the locomotives. This slide shows the rolling stock at the time of the extension to Euston (which would become Euston Bank Branch). The carriages before these had just slit windows and were nick-name ‘padded cells’. Tube Mania [Slide 45] As a result of the success of the C&SLR, many other schemes were applied for, as this table shows.   Approved Opened Waterloo & City 1893 1898 Central London 1891 1900 Great Northern & City 1892 1904 Baker Street & Waterloo 1893 1906 * Brompton &Piccadilly Circus 1897 1906 *) joined in Great Northern & Strand 1899 1906 *) 1902 Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead 1893 1907 * Capital was in short supply at that time and many projects began to founder and were taken over. Those in red were acquired by Charles Tyson Yerkes an American financier with experience of city railways in Chicago. looking to invest in London. He formed them into the Underground Electric Railways of London (UERL). The one that concerns us is the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway (previously named Hampstead, St Pancras & Charing Cross). Yerkes bought up the powers to build the CCE&HR for £1,900 in 1900. It was to be a line from Hampstead Heath Street to Charing Cross, with a short branch line to Euston and St Pancras.  [Slide 46] This shows the map submitted for approval – notice that the branch line only goes to Euston and not St Pancras because the Midland Railway would not cooperate.
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The powers had to be extended three times for lack of funding and during this waiting time a few improvements were made. Further changes [Slide 47] The main route was diverted along Eversholt Street to incorporate the branch line, (which is why you can hear a sharp bend when approaching Euston from the north). A station was added at Camden Town with a new branch line to Kentish Town to capture main line passengers. This was later to have profound implications for Finchley. Finally, the terminus at Charing Cross was realigned and a station was added at Leicester Square to interconnect passengers with the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway. Apparently, on acquiring the CCE&HR Yerkes went for a drive along the route northwards and continued on to Golders Green. He decided to extend the line there, knowing that development would follow. It was a shrewd move, as it enabled him to put his depot on a green field site and simultaneously reduce the maximum gradient of the line at Hampstead. When the supplier of the cable system went bust Yerkes changed to electric power. Yerkes also extended the branch line to Archway (called Highgate). Permission was refused to extend further to Bishops Road Highgate on a technicality. A new station was added on Tottenham Court Road by Goodge Street. The extension to Golders Green spurred Henrietta Barnet into initiating Hampstead Garden Suburb. The CCH&HR opens 1907  [Slide 48] This map of 1908 shows the configuration of the railway when it first opened. Sadly Yerkes did not live long enough to witness it. Finchleians could now travel into the West End having first taken a tram to Golders Green, as shown on our opening slide. By now, most of the station names were as we know them today, although HIGHATE is actually Archway. From its opening, a two-minute service was operated at peak hours from Charing Cross to Camden Town and split equally between the two branches. Off peak was two-and-a-half minutes. A meeting of all parts of the UERL empire met one month after this opening to start standardisation, and as you will have noticed from the map this included colour-coding and the logo UndergrounD. Notice (in passing) the Great Northern and Strand and the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus lines had already been joined to make the Piccadilly line in 1902. [Slide 49] The carriages were made in America, shipped to Manchester, fitted and taken by Midland Railway to London. Finally horse-drawn trailers took them to Golders Green. Motors were made by British firm Thomson Houston. Power for all Yerkes’ empire was generated at Lots Road Chelsea and distributed by cables along the network. Power for the Hampstead Tube entered at Charing Cross by way of the District Railway.
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Hampstead Tube Extensions 1909 Within two years the first extension was made southward to Embankment to allow for interchange with the District Railway and Bakerloo lines, also in the UERL. It included a large reversing loop under the Thames and a single, northbound, Embankment platform. We’ll see a diagram later. Further acquisitions 1911, 1913 The UERL (UndergrounD) didn’t make the returns expected of it, partly because of competition from the development of the motor bus. When the price of London General Omnibus Co (LGOC) shares dropped in 1911 (as a result of a law suit by Daimler objecting to the LGOC making their own buses), UERL stepped in and took them over, forming what became known as the Combine. [Slide 50] The LGOC roundel here would go on to become London Transport’s other logo. In 1913 the remaining independent underground railways were snapped up. The Great Northern & City became part of the Metropolitan group and the C&SLR and the Central Railway became part of the Combine. The MET and London United tramways (LUT) and their subsidiaries also joined the combine that year. Marriage with C&SLR 1922-24 The marriage of the Hampstead Tube and the C&SLR (although purchased in 1913) had to wait for the war to finish and extra finance to be secured and did not begin until 1922. It involved the widening of the whole length of the C&SLR tunnel and the replacing of its antiquated rolling stock. . [I have a 2 minute movie clip of the upgrading work if you are interested]. Most of this was done while retaining the passenger service, until a train in November 1923 caused a weak section of the ‘roof’ to cave in. Within 15 minutes the tunnel was blocked as 650 tons of gravel descended from Newington Causeway. A gas main caused an explosion but was put out by a ruptured water main. The two lines met at Euston but their orientations did not allow connection there. Anyway, had they been able to do so there would have been a bottleneck as the two lines reduced to one for the short section Euston to Camden Town. So the C&SLR was extended north to Camden Town and separately connected to each of the original branch lines in such a way as to avoid the bottleneck. [Slide 51] This involved creating a further four tubes, making six tubes extending about half a mile under Camden High Street, and was done without interrupting the Hampstead Tube service. Notice the operator’s control panel, how complicated it is. When the upgraded line reopened in 1924 Finchleians had new ways to reach Moorgate. A strike at the Lots Road Power Station in 1924 resulted in the temporary closure of much of the line. When it reopened South Kentish Town (previously Castle Road) remained shut as an experiment to speed up traffic and never reopened. Another connection in 1926 [Slide 52] With the C&SLR now fully compatible and having previously extended the Hampstead Tube to Embankment, it was now decided to extend further and connect it to the C&SLR a second time; this time at Kennington, with a new reversing loop there. This slide shows the original reversing loop in red, and the new arrangement at embankment in yellow. The future Northern Line was taking shape. Plans to connect with the Bakerloo at Waterloo were vetoed by the Southern Railway. (A maintenance link was made between the C&SLR and the Piccadilly near Kings Cross)
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Part 4: The breakthrough of the tubes London Passenger Transport Board 1933 Most of London’s transport was effectively nationalised in 1933 by the National Government, and run by the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) on a hands-off, profit-making basis. It included the Combine, the Metropolitan, the independent tram companies and bus companies. In entered into a coordination agreement with the main line companies’ suburban services. It had a clear policy: The Underground was to be extended further into the suburbs and beyond; petrol buses were to be replaced by diesel and bus services expanded; as we have seen, trams were to be replaced by trolley buses. New Works Programme 1935 The LPTB embarked on a massive capital investment programme that extended services and reconstructed many existing assets, mostly under the umbrella of the 1935–1940 New Works Programme. This lent government money to the LPTB on very good terms. It was to include major electrification, integration of the old Great Northern and City and extensions from Edgware to Bushey. The underground map of 1947  shows the projected extensions. [Slide 53] There was also a low priority scheme for consideration to relieve congestion: a new line from Finchley Central to Clapham Junction via Golders Green, Childs Hill, Baker Street and Knightsbridge, never adopted. Northern Line reaches East Finchley 1939 Part of the programme was to extend the Hampstead Tube northwards from Archway (Highgate) via a new station under the LNER Highgate station and on to East Finchley where a brand new station was to be built to serve both the tube line and the LNER line. [Slide 54] This was achieved by 1939, by which time (in 1937) the tube had been renamed Northern Line (through a competition) and electrification of the LNER tracks was continued to High Barnet and Mill Hill East the following year. The new Highgate station below the old mainline station did not open until 1941. The remaining works were put on hold as a result of the war and eventually dropped. The extra track from Church End to Mill Hill East was laid however, and promptly taken up again for armaments. On opening there were tube trains every ten minutes from High Barnet and every 5 minutes from Finchley Central. Decline of steam [Slide 55] Just before the tube arrived there were 57 passenger steam trains a day from High Barnet and 26 on the Edgware branch but by 1941 all steam passenger services west of Park Junction Highgate had been withdrawn. The Finsbury Park – Alexandra Palace service continued, gradually reducing until on 3rd July 1954 the last passenger train, with eight gas-lit coaches full of railway enthusiasts and local residents set off from Finsbury Park. It wasn’t a trouble-free journey as a result of a coupling fracture but arrived back only 35 minutes late. Freight traffic was still reasonably buoyant in 1938 even though there was less house building; there were still 9 trains a day in 1956, but this lessened and freight services were gradually withdrawn, (Mill Hill Gas Works closed in 1956 and coal switched to road transport in 1960) finally stopping in 1962. Rails on the redundant tracks were removed in 1964. [Slide 56] This map shows the position today. The routes marked in green are now walkways; those in
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purple have disappeared, while those in black have become part of the Northern Line.  And finally, some miscellaneous incidents [Slide 57] In 1935 an RAF plane crashed on the Edgware line north of Colindale. The resulting short circuit set the signal box on fire and it was completely destroyed. Hard work by engineers resulted in automatic through running being introduced within hours. In 1959 a train of 27 empty trucks ran out of control near Highgate, all the way to Finsbury Park. The train, hauled by a Class N2 tank locomotive left Mill Hill East Sidings soon after 1 p.m. and was the first up freight train of the day. Beyond East Finchley the driver found that the wheels were not responding to the hand brake. In spite of the exemplary efforts on the part of driver, fireman and guard, the train could not be brought under control at any time down the long slope. The greasy rails, fouled with wet leaves defied their efforts to halt the train. At Finsbury Park, some empty coaching stock was being shunted in the path of the runaway train and a collision was inevitable. Happily, only minor injuries resulted to the train crew but extensive damage was wrought on carriages and trucks. In 2003 a derailment of a north-bound Barnet train occurred in the Camden Town junction. The last car collided with the wall between two tunnels at the crossover and was torn from the rest of the train. The next car scraped along the wall, losing a door and its rear pillar. This caused a complete suspension of Northern Line services. With great speed, replacement services were set up, sixty buses running within three hours, increased to 150. The derailment was traced to a faulty switchblade, undetected since installed in 1965. Services resumed within ten days after track replacement and complete rewiring of the junction. Finally This story leaves a lot out, especially regarding the tube. There have been many arduous station modernisation programmes, the provision of escalators, the interlinking with the Victoria line at Euston. There have also been a whole host of plans that, for reasons of cost or practicality never took off – extensions as far south as Sanderstead, a branch to Victoria, relief lines and so on. Most of the material used in this talk has come from the books listed in the bibliographyoverleaf. For this reason these notes are for personal study only and not for publication. Tony Roberts January 2012
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Rails through Finchley – Bibliography Barnet & Finchley Tramways Robert J Harley Middleton Press 1997 London's Local Railways Alan A Jackson Capital Transport Publishing 1999 Lost Railways of Middlesex Mike Hall Countryside Books 2003 Moving Millions A Pictorial History Theo Barker London Transport Museum 1990 of London Transport No Need To Ask David Leboff  Tim Demuth Capital Transport Publishing 1999 Early Maps of London's Underground Railways North London Trams Robert J Harley Capital Transport Publishing 2008 Rails to the people's Palace and Reg Davies David Bevan Hornsey Historical Society 2006 the Parkland Walk The Hampstead Tube Antony Badsey-Ellis Capital Transport Publishing 2007 A History of the first 100 years The Last Link Mike Horne London Underground Ltd 2007 The first 30 years of the Hampstead Railway The Northen Line Mike Horne Capital Transport Publishing 2009 The Railway in Finchley George Wilmot Library & Arts Committee LBB 1973 A study in suburban development The Story of London's Underground John R Day and John Reed Capital Transport Publishing 2010 Under The Wires at Tally Ho, David Berguer The History Press 2010  Trams & Trolleybuses of North London 1905-1962 Acknowledgements are also due to Google and WikiPedia