London Overground to Finsbury Park

edited December 2010 in Local discussion
As some of you will be aware, in spring next year the East London Line’s northern extension will be completed. This involves the reconstruction of a small link connecting the East London Line (New Cross to Dalston Junction) to the North London Line (Richmond to Stratford via Highbury & Islington and Dalston Kingsland) This will mean that rather than needing to change above ground between the two Dalston stations (crossing two busy roads in the process) passengers will be able to travel from Hi&I all the way down to New Cross. (I don’t know why anyone would want to go to New Cross, but Shoreditch High Street is well placed for The City). This is, in my train-geek opinion, very cool. Once the final link at Surrey Canal road is in place the Overground will be a complete orbital route: <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/Overground_second.png>; However. When the East London Line’s northern extension was first proposed, it was intended that the current freight-only ‘Canonbury Curve’ would be incorporated into London Overground too, bringing Overground services to Finsbury Park. (<http://www.urbantransport-technology.com/projects/london/images/LONDON-8.jpg>;). The Canonbury Curve runs under Highbury Fields, starting just west of Canonbury Station and surfacing at Drayton Park, from where it runs to the unused Finsbury Park surface platforms closest to City North. This plan was not followed through due to 'operational reasons' - concerns about the configuration of the track west of Canonbury - but they are not considerations that couldn't be overcome by good signalling. It wouldn't even be that expensive in the scheme of things - a short stretch of double-tracking and some new platforms at Drayton Park if that station was to be served by Overland too (and those could be added later). What's this got to do with Stroud Green you ask? Well maybe a lot. Extension to Finsbury Park would provide another route into the City, relieving the underground lines and especially the First Capital Connect national rail service at Finsbury Park. It would provide a regular direct route into Shoreditch and the eastern parts of the City at weekends, as well as to Stratford. It would also open up two other possibilities. The first would be for TFL's Overland, with its regular service, shiny trains and manned platforms - not to mention Oyster payments with no additional charges - to take over from the inadequate First suburban 'service' north of FP (and maybe south to Moorgate too). I'm primarily interested in the stretch up to Alexandra Palace (including Harringay Rail on Stroud Green's border), but further north should be achievable too. More interestingly, if ambitiously, it would make it much easier to reopen the Highgate-Finsbury Park link along the Parkland Walk (or, even under it using the old and relatively cheap cut & shut method to preserve the walk if people insist, it's only 3km...) with reopened stations at Stroud Green and Crouch End. Regardless of these benefits, the link to Finsbury Park would be a boon in itself. I'm thinking of trying to start a campaign to this affect, linking with other lobbying groups. I reckon Ali's with me. But am I right in thinking this would benefit people other than train geeks? As ever Arky
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Comments

  • edited 11:11PM
    Couldn't you walk up to Crouch Hill and change at Gospel Oak to get out east at the weekends, and save all the money?
  • edited 11:11PM
    We could walk everywhere and save a lot of money. But no, that's a 20 minute circuit in the wrong direction, plus waiting for a change at Gospel Oak.
  • edited 11:11PM
    I'm seeing a lot of effort and money for one stop south on the Victoria line and changing.
  • edited 11:11PM
    I can see it would be quite useful for people near Harringay Station and beyond, especially at the weekend and the shiny trains would be nice. I'd probably just get the tube to Highbury and change there. Does your idea mean there would be four different ways of getting to Highbury and Islington by train/tube on a week day?
  • edited 11:11PM
    Oh, ok. Good luck with it anyway.

    The City seems like it's well served from all angles already - Moorgate, Liverpool St., Fenchurch St., Crossrail soon - it's not like they're building that much more office capacity to make more routes worthwhile (Bishopsgate is about 6 minute walk from Moorgate).

    Opening the FCC route to Moorgate at weekends (or at least to Old Street) would make the East accessible.
  • edited 11:11PM
    Yeah, better opening hours for the Old Street connection (and indeed, the extant Overground not being closed for at least one day of every bloody weekend) would seem a simpler solution.
  • edited 11:11PM
    Agree on the opening of the Moorgate connection.

    @graeme - "it's not like they're building that much more office capacity to make more routes worthwhile"

    Aren't there a bunch of the largest skyscrapers in London going up at the moment? Presumably this will add quite a bit of capacity.
  • edited 11:11PM
    @David - the initial extension wouldn't make a massive difference, but it would be at a fraction of the cost of any of the other Overland extensions currently under construction, relieve the underground and be an excellent enabler for future suburban projects. @Dorothy - one of the advantages would be help relieve the Victoria line to Hi&I. Maybe I'm being thick but I think that there are currently only two ways of getting to Hi&I by rail - national rail and the Victoria line. Hi&I is also on the North London Line and soon will be on the East London Line, both parts of the Overground. London Overground taking over the First Capital route would just swap one service for another (albeit much better) one. @graeme - I'm very much for opening up that route at weekends, especially if it was run by Overground services rather than First. That would certainly undermine the need for this proposal. On the other hand, you might be mistaken about new office space - there are two massive skyscrapers currently being built or about to start in the City, and another due to start in 2011, all between Moorgate and Shoreditch High Street, and that's just the 'scrapers.
  • edited 11:11PM
    122 Leadenhall, 'The Pinnacle' and the 'Walkie Talkie' are the three that will be under construction in The City by the middle of next year - one is above the ground already.
  • edited 11:11PM
    There are also two bus routes from Finsbury Park to Hi&I, even at peak times they only take 10 mins max. I'd rather take the bus into the East at weekends, there's not much traffic and you get to see the world from the windows. The 236 is my current favourite.
  • edited 11:11PM
    That 10 minutes for the buses doesn't include the waiting time, which can sometimes be ludicrous and is one of the many reasons why I generally walk it.
  • edited 11:11PM
    Yes there are two, I meant to add 'bus'. I always get the bus to Highbury as well, even though it can take much longer, get sick of the tube. I like the opening up the Moorgate connection at the weekend idea. Not keen on the churning up of the parkland walk option. What are these lobbying groups?
  • edited December 2010
    Fairplay on the building work, they've taken so long I'd forgotten they were underway and not just digging massive holes for the fun of it.
  • edited 11:11PM
    The Dalston Junction to New Cross overground link is amazing as it opens up South Hackney, Docklands, New Cross and Crystal Palace and a link to Finsbury Park would be very welcome. When the new link opens up to Highbury, at least we can take advantage of the integrated oyster network system on that particular stretch of overground. I think a campagin to extend a direct overground link from Highbury onto Finsbury Park and maybe onwards is a good idea. However, I'm happy enough for it to just extend to Highbury.

    One of the things I've always wanted for London is that the overground system becomes more like Berlin's S-bahn (overground) system which integrates quite nicely with its u-bahn (tube) system. I was so impressed at the improved trains and network after returning to London this year. Haven't used it much though!
  • edited 11:11PM
    The East London Line upgrade / extension cost [£1bn ](http://www.nce.co.uk/major-projects/east-london-line/express-delivery-of-the-east-london-line/5213137.article). Apparently the refurbishment of the existing old structures was the riskiest part of the project. How much do you estimate would be needed all-in to extend to Finsbury Park, Arkady - closer to £10m or £100m?
  • edited 11:11PM
    Yes, but it would allow Arkady to get to Shoreditch for a drink of a weekend in about 15 minutes. I'm with you, it just a bit pricey. Cycling it, is nice, when it's a little warmer.
  • edited 11:11PM
    Thameslink services are due to start going through F Park from 2016 providing links to farrindon, london bridge and brighton etc Maybe that will use up any spare platform capacity at F Park anyway? I like the idea to tunnel the short distance between Moorgate And Bank and join the FCC line to the Waterloo and CIty...
  • edited 11:11PM
    It all sounds like a fantastic step which needs to be delayed for as long as possible for the protection of the parkland walk
  • edited December 2010
    @alex: I'd suggest something similar to the cost of the Dalston curve currently underway, i.e a footnote in the overall cost of the ELL, which involved four new stations, the complete overhaul of many others, miles of new track and two new bridges. @Thomas: can you provide a link to info on that? Thameslink is a completely different route through Kentish Town. @duncan - I sympathise, but tracksides are wildlife havens anyway and it would benefit far more people and more frequently if restored to a mass transit route. Think of the carbon savings too.
  • edited 11:11PM
    @kreuzkav: we agree on something. This makes me feel all funny inside. A x
  • edited 11:11PM
    @Arkady. Well, public transport is something I do care about a lot. I'm not just a ranter! I have conceded that I was a bit OTT with the SL ones. I did keep to my promise about keeping the rants to specially labelled posts( and I've only made one over the last month when they didn't keep to their promises). The rants on the Mice thread were as a result of being falsely accused of claiming housing benefit after leaving helpful advice about getting rid of mice.. I was in a particular bad mood over sad news I received that day about my father's illness. So I was foaming at the mouth a bit.

    I also didn't understand the hostility towards having social housing. As I now realise many people who post on here are in the same financial situation as me ( fairly low wages considering the London average is about £26,000), I think you should all look into social housing too. However, I've sugested this to many people not on this board and they've sneered at the idea as they feel it humiliating. And many people like the ease and sociability of private shared housing. As I said before it wasn't easy getting a flat and it did require lots of begging and hassling over many years. Also, my rent is not as cheap as a council rent. The rents are going up each year with the aim of being 75 % of market rent in the next few years. Plus my flat was unfurnished and not in the best condition. It has needed and still needs lots of work on it. Still brilliant though! And I love Stroud Green!

    Sorry for going offtrack. I just thought I'd explain things while being in a calm frame of mind. I do value lots of the information on here.
  • edited 11:11PM
    Re: the parkland walk: Think of the carbon saving of people taking their bikes or walking this route, think of the health and wellbeing of the hundreds of users of that walk every day/weekend. You can't walk your dog or ride your bike or get a little bit of peace from road traffic on a trackside.

    Mass transit might be a "benefit" for folk who love riding on shiny trains, but not so much for any of the other people who use this important local resource. Am sure many people would prefer to take 10 mins longer to get to their work while also being able to enjoy a quiet parkland walk at the weekends.
  • edited 11:11PM
    And it's not as if the area has a shortage of trackside habitats. Delightfully overgrown they are too, but I suspect that some of the Parkland Walk wildlife - the slowworms and deer in particular - may prefer the more open vegetation and slightly quieter tone of the ex-route to the sheer wildness of the current ones.
  • edited 11:11PM
    I do wonder about the health and wellbeing aspect. When wandering around there a few weeks ago, I twisted my ankle, and whilst I liked the view, I didn't find my health or wellbeing improved at all. Indeed, I later caught a cold.
  • Arky, I'm with you and think it would make sense to at least extend the line to FP. I get the train into Moorgate each morning and see just how many people commute in to FP train station and load onto the Victoria and Picadilly lines making it hugely overcrowded. Any other outlets would be very welcome. For purely selfish reasons I'd love it for Shoreditch at the weekends and Wapping in the summer. Anyone venturing as far South as New Cross or Peckham should check out <http://www.frankscafe.org.uk/>; on the roof of a multi story car park with all sorts of art installations on the floors on the way up and Bar Story which is nice for a few beers.
  • edited December 2010
    I'd be all over an extension to FP, it would be handy to be able to get to Shoreditch/Brick Lane easily, especially at weekends. Event the odd trip south of the river isn't out of question! As much as a train to Highgate would be good, I wouldn't touch the parkland walk at all.
  • edited 11:11PM
    @Arkady. Full Thameslink plans got approved two weeks ago and Great Northern Route will connect to the network from 2018 (the date has changed from last time I looked!) http://www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk/cms/pages/view/30 Judging by that time lag, I guess your plans for Overground and Parkland Track could be operational by 2040!
  • Agree with the idea of the extension of overground to Finsbury Park (arkady - I'm very impressed with the full geekery of your train knowledge - I thought I was sad for being aware of this proposal from years ago). But I don't think there is any chance of the Parkland Walk being converted back into a rail line.

    On Thameslink - I once interrogated a FCC guy about this during a break at a Council meeting. It seems pretty certain the Thameslink trains will stop at Finsbury Park once the programme is complete - but most likely they sail past Harringay, Hornsey and Alexandra Palace stations on their way to Peterborough or Cambridge.
  • edited 11:11PM
    Parkland Walk should be left well alone.
  • edited 11:11PM
    Not massively relevant, but as an example of how it might massively help me but doesn't have that many benefits.... I train/play rugby on Haggerston Park on tuesday and thursday, and it takes me nigh on an hour to get home, either by walking to old street and getting the overland, or getting the 236. I rarely go now because I basically can't be bothered ( i used to live near there, i'm not a masochist). So that would be good. But other than the nice markets, I'm not sure that there is much benefit for anyone that couldn't be sorted by investing in the exsiting overland to old street? Can't think of any must access services or employment centres. It's just a leisure line really. (ducks)

    I guess I could get a bike. But it would probably have be a fixie. And I would have to grow a moustache to avoid getting laughed at by the lcoa biker gangs.
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