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?