Best Way To Segregate the Northern Line Part 1

Rail Travel

Created on: January 14, 2019

Updated on: April 18, 2019

If you check out my previous article regarding the WCML (West Coast Main Line) you will have learnt that branches on railway lines are a cheaper way of reaching multiple destinations without necessarily having to spend lots of money on expanding your infrastructure. Underground Metro System

In this article, we are going to look at the northern end of the northern line and we will explore the reasons for its existence and the work that will happen in the future.

Importance of Not Changing Trains?

When I use the tube one of the things that I do is to cut out the process of changing trains this is due to the huge amount of walking that one needs to do to change trains. And it is one of the main reasons why I rarely change stations at St Pancras on to the tube or Green Park from the jubilee to Piccadilly vica versa.

The northern line was originally built by two competing rail companies the Hampstead tube ran via Hampstead an on to Edgware. Whilst the Highgate tube ran to Highgate and it then took over the London and North Eastern railway that ran from High Barnet & Edgware to Finsbury Park via Alexandra Palace and this line was nicknamed the Northern Heights line.

Crossover Points

If you take a look at the northern line now you will notice that there are two crossover points on the line and this accounts for the plethora of destinations that can be reached without changing trains.

These are the enormous benefits of the line and it is also the reason why there is an issue regarding squeezing extra capacity on to the central sections.

Flash Points

If we were to start from the northern most destinations of Barnet and Edgware and you were to go down to the crossover point at Camden Town. Camden Town tube station currently has problems serving the passenger volumes that it was designed to serve. For example, if you go down there on a Sunday morning when the market is in full swing you will notice that there is a one-way system in operation.

This is so that passengers can safely enter or leave Camden or Chalk Farm stations. Just outside the station is a scissors style crossover where the lines branch off and enter the respective tunnels in to central London.

Branches Reimagined

As I have explained within the WCML blog post if you have multiple branches on a line there is a theoretical limit as to the amount of trains that you can squeeze on to the line. And this is complicated by the fact that at Camden town the line splits in to the respective destination lines on the northern ends and the central London branches on the southern end.


The long-term solution is to segregate the lines and this means splitting the line up in to different lines. The Edgware branch would be split in to the Edgware – Battersea branch and the Barnet branch would go to Morden via Bank.

Camden Town needs to be rebuilt and this is explored in further detail within the following article.

Meanwhile, on the southern end of the northern line there are additional pressures on the line especially when you consider that the population within the Tooting area is increasing.

However, there have been a number of proposals to increase capacity with a forthcoming proposed cross rail 2 and this will be explored in a forthcoming article.

So, the next time you jump on the northern line and complain that the train is running a bit to slow compared to other automated lines.

You now know the reason why this is due to the fact that there is a maximum number of trains that you can fit through the myriad of branches on the line.

Does this resonate with you? Want to #learnblockchain ? We are about to launch our latest course and it involves food and it’s called “Blockchain Food for The Soul” check it out and sign up here Training.

You may be interested to hear that we have just started a brand-new season on DiverseCoderTV where we will hold tech and transport companies to account at