Map Colour: Black Opened: 1890 Stations: 50 Length: 36 miles (58km)
Morden South Wimbledon Colliers Wood Tooting Broadway Tooting Bec Balham Clapham South Clapham Common
Clapham North Stockwell Oval Kennington
Charing Cross Branch
Waterloo Embankment Charing Cross Leicester Square Tottenham Court Road Goodge Street Warren Street Euston
Elephant & Castle Borough London Bridge Bank Moorgate Old Street Angel King’s Cross St Pancras Euston
Camden Town Interchange
High Barnet Branch
Mill Hill East Branch (from Finchley Central)
Golders Green Morden
The origins of today’s Northern Line can be found in the formation of both the City & South London Railway (C&SLR) and the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR).
The City & South London Railway is widely recognised as London’s first deep-level tube railway. Constructed by James Henry Greathead, it was the first Underground line to be constructed by boring tunnels deep under the surface and also the first to be powered by electric traction. The C&SLR opened in November 1890 and ran from Stockwell to King William Street (located just south of today’s Monument Station). This terminus was deemed to be less than ideally sited and therefore an extension to Moorgate was constructed, opening in 1900. By 1907, further extensions had been made, with the southern extension running to Clapham Common, and the northern to Euston.
The Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (known as the “Hampstead Tube”) was established in 1891, but construction of their line was delayed by more than a decade due to lack of funding. However, the line was eventually constructed and opened in 1907 running between Charing Cross (then known as Strand) via Euston and Camden Town via separate branches to Golders Green and Highgate (today’s Archway). Ownership of the C&SLR passed to the owner of the CCE&HR, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) in 1913, although both companies remained separate.
In 1914, the line was extended south to Embankment, forming an interchage with the Bakerloo & District Lines.
With the coming of the 1920s, a series of construction works was carried out to connect the C&SLR to the CCE&HR to allow both lines to be integrated as one. The works consisted of deep bore tunnels being constructed, firstly between the C&SLR’s Euston station and the CCE&HR’s Camden Town Station. The second set of works linked the CCE&HR’s Embankment and C&SLR’s Kennington stations, also providing a new station at Waterloo to allow connections with the Bakerloo Line and also mainline services opertaing from the terminus.
Alongside the works to integrate the two lines, two major extensions were undertaken. The first extension reached northwards from Golders Green to Hendon Central, opening in 1923 and, with the inclusion of 5 new stations, to Edgware in 1924. The second extension reached south in tunnels from Clapham Common to Morden, with seven new stations, opening in 1926.
In 1933, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London was brought under public control, alongside the Metropolitan Railway by the London Passenger Transport Board. At this time, the Great Northern & City Railway (a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Railway), which ran from Moorgate to Finsbury Park, also became part of the Underground and was operated as part of the Northern Line, although neither line was connected to the other.
As part of the London Passenger Transport Board’s New Works Programme 1935 – 1940, an ambitious plan was proposed to integrate the existing London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) lines built by the Edgware, Highgate & London Railway from Finsbury Park to Edgware via Highgate, including the branches to Alexandra Palace and High Barnet, into the Underground Network.
The proposal also included an extension of the line from Edgware via Elstree to Bushey Heath, originally proposed by the Watford & Edgware Railway (W&ER). The project also included electrification of the lines alongside the doubling of track north of Finchley Central and construction of three new link sections, from the Northern City Line to Finsbury Park, from Archway to the existing LNER line at East Finchley and diversion of the tracks before the Edgware LNER station to the Underground Station.
Work to construct the new extensions began in the late 1930s, with the tunnels from the original Highgate (now Archway) being completed, alongside the beginning of service to the rebuilt East Finchley station, on 3 July 1939. However, the (new) station at Highgate, on the site of the former LNER station, did not occur at this time. Further progress on the line was disrupted by the outbreak of World War II, although electrification of the High Barnet branch from East Finchley was completed, with services commencing on 14 April 1940. Other elements of the line completed were the new, deep level, Highgate station, which opened in January 1941, and the electrification of the single track branch from Finchley Central as far as Mill Hill East. Other elements of the extension were suspended in 1939.
At the conclusion of World War 2, the Metropolitan Green Belt was established and this removed the potential for residential development in the area, alongside an demand for a service to Bushey Heath. The funds available were diverted to the Eastern extension of the Central Line and the Northern Heights Extension was dropped from the LPTB’s plans in February 1954.
1954 also saw the closure to passenger traffic of the Alexandra Palace branch, along with the surface level station at Highgate. This was followed in 1975 by the transfer of the Moorgate – Drayton Park (Northern City) line to British Rail, leaving us with the Northern Line we have today.
With the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station underway, a southern extension of the Northern Line from Kennington to Battersea, with an intermediate station at Nine Elms is currently being constructed and should be open by December 2020. This extension will also provide the possibility for a further extension from Battersea to Clapham Junction at some point in the future.