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Finchley Central tube station


Finchley Central tube station

Finchley Central
Finchley Central is located in Greater London
Finchley Central
Location of Finchley Central in Greater London
Location Finchley
Local authority London Borough of Barnet
Managed by London Underground
Number of platforms 3
Accessible Yes [1]
Fare zone 4
London Underground annual entry and exit
2011 5.49 million[2]
2012 5.51 million[2]
2013 5.33 million[2]
2014 5.68 million[2]
Railway companies
Original company Edgware, Highgate and London Railway
Pre-grouping Great Northern Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
Key dates
1867 Opened (GNR)
1940 Started (Northern line)
1941 Ended (LNER)
1962 Goods yard closed
Other information
Lists of stations
London Transport portal

Finchley Central is a London Underground station in the Church End area of Finchley, north London. The station is on the High Barnet branch of the Northern line, between West Finchley and East Finchley stations and is the junction for the short branch to Mill Hill East station. The station is in Travelcard Zone 4.

The station was opened in 1867 as part of the Great Northern Railway's line between Finsbury Park and Edgware stations. A branch from Finchley Central to High Barnet opened in 1872. As part of London Underground's only partially completed Northern Heights plan, Northern line trains started serving the station in 1940 and main line passenger services ended in 1941.


  • History 1
    • Original station 1.1
    • Northern Heights project 1.2
    • Post-war 1.3
  • Station layout 2
  • Services and connection 3
    • Services 3.1
    • Connections 3.2
  • Cultural references 4
  • Notes and references 5
    • Notes 5.1
    • References 5.2
    • Bibliography 5.3
  • External links 6


Original station

A map shows a station with a few buildings nearby, but surrounded mostly by fields
Finchley Central station before the construction of the branch to High Barnet on an Ordnance Survey map

Finchley Central station was built by the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway (EH&LR) on its line from Finsbury Park station to Edgware station. Before the line was opened it was purchased in July 1867 by the larger Great Northern Railway (GNR),[3] whose main line from King's Cross ran through Finsbury Park on its way to Potters Bar and the north. The station, originally named Finchley and Hendon, opened along with the railway to Edgware on 22 August 1867 in what was then rural Middlesex.[4][5] A branch line from this station was constructed by the GNR to High Barnet and opened on 1 April 1872.[5] The station was renamed by the GNR twice: to Finchley on 1 February 1872 and Finchley (Church End) on 1 February 1894. It was given its current name on 1 April 1940.[4][6]

After the 1921 Railways Act created the Big Four railway companies, the GNR became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1923.[7]

Northern Heights project

In 1935, the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) announced a proposal, which became known as the Northern Heights project, to take over the LNER lines from Finsbury Park to Edgware, High Barnet and Alexandra Palace, and link them to both the Northern line at East Finchley and to the Northern City line at Finsbury Park.[n 1] The line from Finchley Central to Edgware closed for electrification and reconstruction on 11 September 1939.[9]

The station was first served by electric Northern line trains on 14 April 1940, when the service was extended from East Finchley to High Barnet.[10] After a period where the station was serviced by both operators, LNER steam services were ended on 2 March 1941.[11] Following the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, completion of the electrification works on the line to Edgware was slowed and was completed only as far as Mill Hill East. Northern line services to Mill Hill East began on 18 May 1941 to serve the nearby Inglis Barracks.[11]


After the war, plans to complete the Northern Heights project were reviewed but no work was carried out. Maintenance works and reconstruction of war damage on the existing network had the greatest call on London Underground funds. Funds for new works were severely limited and priority was given to the completion of the western and eastern extensions of the Central line to West Ruislip, Epping and Hainault.[12] Despite being shown as under construction on underground maps as late as 1950,[n 2] work never restarted on the unimplemented parts of the Northern Heights project.[17][n 3]

British Rail (the successor to the LNER) freight trains continued to serve the station's goods yard until 1962, when it was closed.[20][n 4]

Charles Holden and Reginald Uren designed replacement buildings for the station to be built on both sides of the road bridge at the north end of the station, but the curtailment of the Northern Heights Plan means that this was not implemented and the station still retains much of its original Victorian architectural character today.[22] As one of two EH&LR stations retaining its original buildings (with Mill Hill East), it is one of the oldest parts of the Underground system, pre-dating the first tunnelled section of the Northern line (the City & South London Railway) by more than twenty years.[n 5]

Station layout

A view along a station platform. The main station building is to the right across a pair of tracks. A footbridge spans between the platforms.
A view through a red-brick archway of a bridge. A complex of railway tracks interconnected with points is in the foreground with a train in the distance

The station has two entrances. The main one, on the north side of the tracks, is from Chaville Way, an access road from the junction of Ballards Lane, Regents Park Road and Nether Street. The second entrance is to the south of the tracks in Station Road. The two entrances are joined by a footbridge over the tracks from which stairs and lifts connect to the platforms. The station is accessible for disabled passengers in both directions.[1]

The station has three platforms. Platforms 1 and 2, which share an island platform, are for northbound trains: platform 1 is used mainly by trains terminating at Finchley Central or going to Mill Hill East, platform 2 is mainly used by trains going to High Barnet. Platform 3, a side platform, is for southbound trains.

Services and connection


The station is in Travelcard Zone 4, between West Finchley and East Finchley.[23] Train frequencies vary throughout the day, but generally operate every 3–7 minutes between 05:44 and 01:05 northbound to West Finchley and 05:31 and 00:59 southbound (as of 2015).[24][25] Trains to Mill Hill East operate between 05:35 and 01:06.[26]


London Buses routes 82, 125, 143, 326, 382 and 460 and night routes N13 and N20 serve the station.[27]

Cultural references

Finchley Central was the station used in the 1930s by Harry Beck, designer of the original Tube map. There is a commemorative plaque on Platform 3, together with a facsimile poster of Beck's iconic 1933 design.[28]

The station features in the Finchley Central mind game, which in turn became the basis for the game Mornington Crescent in the BBC Radio 4 series I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.[29]

Notes and references


  1. ^ At Edgware, the LNER's station was to be closed with the end of the line diverted into the Northern line's own Edgware station with an extension from there taking the line to Bushey Heath.[8]
  2. ^ Shown as "under construction", the Northern Heights extensions appeared for the first time on Underground poster maps in 1937 and pocket maps in 1938.[13][14] After the opening of the line to Mill Hill East, the uncompleted remainder of the works were removed from the map between 1943 and 1945.[14] The Mill Hill East to Edgware and Edgware to Bushey Heath sections appeared on the map again from 1946 to 1949 and the Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace section appeared from 1946 to 1950.[15][16]
  3. ^ The section of the extension between Brockley Hill and Bushey Heath was cancelled in October 1950,[18] leaving the section between Edgware and Brockley Hill and the conversion of the line from Mill Hill East to Edgware to be decided. The announcement of its cancellation was finally made in February 1954.[19]
  4. ^ Freight services continued on the Edgware branch until 1964.[21]
  5. ^ The City & South London Railway opened in 1890 between King William Street in the City of London and Stockwell in Lambeth.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Step free Tube Guide" (PDF).  
  2. ^ a b c d "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data.  
  3. ^ Beard 2002, p. 6.
  4. ^ a b Butt 1995, p. 96.
  5. ^ a b "Clive's Underground Line Guides - Northern Line". Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  6. ^ Harris 2001, p. 28.
  7. ^ Wolmar 2005, p. 227.
  8. ^ Beard 2002, p. 59.
  9. ^ Beard 2002, p. 92.
  10. ^ a b Rose 1999.
  11. ^ a b Day & Reed 2010, p. 140.
  12. ^ Bownes, Green & Mullins 2012, p. 173.
  13. ^ Beard 2002, pp. 56–57.
  14. ^ a b "London Transport Underground Maps 1938–1945". Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "London Transport Underground Maps 1946–1947". Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  16. ^ "London Transport Underground Maps 1948–1956". Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  17. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 152.
  18. ^ Beard 2002, p. 126.
  19. ^ Beard 2002, p. 127.
  20. ^ Hardy 2011, pp. 175–183.
  21. ^ "Highgate Station". Disused stations. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  22. ^ "Gallery Search".  
  23. ^  
  24. ^ "Northern line timetable: From Finchley Central Underground Station to West Finchley Underground Station".  
  25. ^ "Northern line timetable: From Finchley Central Underground Station to East Finchley Underground Station".  
  26. ^ "Northern line timetable: From Finchley Central Underground Station to Mill Hill East Underground Station".  
  27. ^ "Buses from Finchley Central" (PDF).  
  28. ^ Martin 2012, p. 202.
  29. ^  


  • Beard, Tony (2002). By Tube Beyond Edgware. Capital Transport.  
  • Bownes, David; Green, Oliver; Mullins, Sam (2012). Underground: How the Tube Shaped London. Allen Lane.  
  • Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd.  
  • Day, John R; Reed, John (2010) [1963]. The Story of London's Underground (11th ed.). Capital Transport.  
  • Hardy, Brian, ed. (March 2011). "How it used to be - freight on The Underground 50 years ago". Underground News (London Underground Railway Society) (591).  
  • Harris, Cyril M. (2001) [1977]. What's in a name? (4th ed.). Capital Transport.  
  • Martin, Andrew (2012). Underground Overground: A Passenger's History of the London Underground. Profile Books.  
  • Rose, Douglas (1999) [1980]. The London Underground, A Diagrammatic History (7th ed.). Douglas Rose/Capital Transport.  

External links

  • London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
    • View of station approach with signboard advertising the opening of London Underground services, 1940
    • View of platforms with both LNER and Underground trains in station, 1940
    • Station building, 1956
Preceding station   London Underground   Following station
towards High Barnet
Northern line
towards Morden or Kennington
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