|North London Line|
|File:File:313123 HKC 1.jpg
A Class 313 at Hackney Central
|Closed||2006 (Stratford-North Woolwich)|
|Rolling stock||Class 378 "Electrostar", Class 313|
|No. of tracks||2-4|
|Track gauge||Standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 81⁄2 in)|
|Electrification||25kV AC OHLE
750 V DC third rail
The North London Line is a railway line which passes through the inner suburbs of London, England. Its route is a rough semicircle from the south west to the north east, avoiding central London. The line is owned and maintained by Network Rail. Although much of it originated as part of the North London Railway, the current route is the result of a series of amalgamations, closures and re-openings; and has a mixed third-rail and overhead electrical power supply. It is an important freight route and is used by the Richmond to Stratford service of the London Overground, as part of the National Rail network.
To allow four-car trains to run on the London Overground network, the North London Line between Gospel Oak and Stratford closed in February 2010, with reopening envisaged for 1 June 2010, for installing a new signalling system and for extending 30 platforms. After the reopening the work will continue until May 2011 with a reduced service and none on Sundays.
|North London Line|
The North London Line between Richmond and North Woolwich derives from five connecting sections which were opened over 25 years from 1846:
The line between Broad Street and both Kew Bridge and Richmond was electrified by the LNWR in 1916 on the 4th rail DC system.
In 1944 passenger service on the NLR Poplar branch ceased. Freight traffic probably continued on the branch until the docks on the Isle of Dogs closed during the 1960s and 1980s. The trackbed of the southern part of the branch, from Poplar to Bow, was used for the Docklands Light Railway branch to Stratford.
In 1979 the North Woolwich to Stratford service was extended to Camden Road as the CrossTown LinkLine service using the same Cravens-built diesel multiple unit trains. There were no intermediate stations until in 1980 Hackney Wick, near the site of the former Victoria Park station, opened and Hackney Central re-opened, Homerton re-opened in 1985 (both those stations had closed in 1944. New platforms were built at West Ham for interchange with the adjacent Underground station.
In the 1980s Broad Street station closed and the Tottenham Hale–Stratford link and the station at Lea Bridge ceased to be used by regular passenger trains. The line between Dalston and North Woolwich was electrified on the third-rail system and Broad Street services were diverted to North Woolwich using former Southern Region 2-EPB types built in the 1950s. The two-coach trains soon proved too small and were replaced by Class 313 electric multiple units. The new service was branded by British Rail as the North London Link, and some signs using this name still exist.
In December 2006, the line between Stratford and North Woolwich was permanently closed to make a way for a future Docklands Light Railway (DLR) extension from Canning Town to Stratford International (Opening December 13, 2009). The section south of Canning Town is largely duplicated by the DLR King George V branch and the stretch of track from Canning Town to Stratford follows the Jubilee Line. The section south of Stratford had always been the Cinderella end of the line, when there were operating problems it was common for trains to be turned short at Stratford.
In addition to the primary Broad Street - Richmond service there were services that linked Broad Street with Harrow & Wealdstone and Watford Junction on the West Coast Main Line. Most of these were routed via the line between South Hampstead and Camden Road, calling at Primrose Hill, although some travelled via Hampstead Heath and switched to the Watford line at Willesden Junction. By the time that Broad Street closed in 1986 the Watford services operated only in the rush hours, and they were diverted to Liverpool Street by way of a new link in Hackney, known as the Graham Road Curve. However, with trains frequently cancelled, and some timed to arrive at Liverpool Street station after the start of the working day (plus the evening workings also being timed to not be suitable for office workers), patronage was very low and after a few years they were withdrawn.
In 2000 Anglia Railways started a service between Basingstoke and Ipswich, utilising parts of the North London Line. The service was called London Crosslink and ran up to five times a day at roughly two-hourly intervals. The service called only at principal stations such as Staines, Feltham and Brentford. On the North London Line the trains called only at Stratford, Highbury & Islington, Camden Road (some services), West Hampstead and Willesden Junction. The service was withdrawn in 2002.
The AC electrification of the eastern part of the North London Line uses the previously unelectrified northern pair of tracks, which were also partially singled at the same time. Between Canonbury and Highbury & Islington there is a line which links to the East Coast Main Line at Finsbury Park. This used to carry passenger trains to / from various North London stations (such as Edgware, Alexandra Palace, High Barnet, Welwyn Garden City and others) over part of the North London Line to Broad Street Station, however since the opening of the Great Northern Electrics suburban electrification which in the 1970s saw trains being diverted into Moorgate and London King's Cross stations; this link has only been used for freight trains. It too was singled concurrent with the AC electrification of the eastern part of the North London Line.
Most of the line runs in a curve across north London. Only Richmond and Kew Gardens stations at the western end are south of the River Thames. The river crossing is made by Kew Railway Bridge on tracks which are shared with the London Underground District Line. The location of the eastern extremity has varied over the years. Between 1944 and 1986 it was at Broad Street station, then it switched to North Woolwich. It was cut back to Stratford. A tunnel, the Hampstead Heath tunnel, runs under Hampstead between Finchley Road & Frognal and Hampstead Heath. The line is double track throughout with a mix of triple and quadruple track between Camden Road and Dalston Kingsland. The former North Woolwich branch included a section of single track between Custom House and North Woolwich stations, and the Broad Street branch was at one time formed of quadruple track.
The line is electrified using the third rail system from Richmond to Acton Central and Camden Road to Dalston Kingsland (southern pair of lines only). Overhead lines are used from Acton Central to Camden Road, Camden Road to Dalston Kingsland (freight lines only) and Dalston Kingsland to Channelsea Junctions (link to Temple Mills, Stratford High Level and Liverpool Street). The line to Broad Street used third rail supply and when the through service to North Woolwich started in 1985 trains used the third rail throughout. When the trains were replaced a few years later by dual-system Class 313 trains it became possible to use the overhead electrification system which had been added to parts of the line for the benefit of freight trains. There had been some unexpected difficulties with earth currents from the third rail system which this overcame. This usage was steadily extended and trains now make a number of changes between electrification systems during their short journey. These are at Dalston Kingsland, Camden Road and Acton Central.
The line is now electrified thus: Third rail Richmond to Acton Central, and Camden Road to Dalston Kingsland. It is electrified at overhead 25kV between Acton Central and Camden Road, and Dalston Kingsland to Stratford. This will change during 2010 when the only section of line to remain on the third-rail system will be Richmond to Acton Central; the rest of the line between Acton Central and Stratford will use 25kV overhead.
The line crosses or comes into contact with a very large number of railway lines, especially lines radiating from central London. This does provide opportunities to move between separate sectors of suburban London without having to enter the central zone.
London Overground uses Class 378 Capitalstar three-car dual-voltage electric trains, compatible with both 750V DC third-rail and 25kV AC overhead power sources. The trains will be extended to four cars in 2010–11. The Class 378 Capitalstars replace the Class 313 trains, which were withdrawn from the route in February 2010.
Despite published performance figures the North London Line is regarded by frequent travellers as offering a poor service, with extremely congested trains and an unreliable service with some trains cancelled shortly before they are due to arrive. A 2006 London Assembly report described the current service as "shabby, unreliable, unsafe and overcrowded", proposing the transfer of the service to Transport for London (TfL) as a potential solution to improve the quality of the service  due to upgrade plans  which coincide with the extension of the East London line.
A report on the future of the line can be found on the London Assembly website.
By 2011, according to TfL, all lines will be provided with a 'turn up and go' service, which means a minimum of 4 trains per hour in both directions.
Planned service patterns are:
The route between Custom House and North Woolwich is proposed to be used by the Crossrail project as part of the Abbey Wood branch. There were plans for this section to be used temporarily by the Royal Docks Heritage Railway but the present status of this project is unclear.
Closed stations apart from those on the closed sections of the line are:
On 1 November 1865 the NLR opened its City Extension mostly on a viaduct from a triangular junction at Dalston to Broad Street in the City with these stations:
The extension closed on 30 June 1986, but although the track was lifted the viaduct remains in place and is partially used for the East London Line development.
The extended East London Line will be operated by London Overground, the operators of passenger services on the North London Line, with services eventually running as far as Highbury & Islington in the north for interchange with the Victoria line.
On 10 December 2006 the line between Stratford and North Woolwich was closed to allow building between Stratford and Canning Town of a Docklands Light Railway line to Stratford International. Part of the south end of closed section is to be used for Crossrail.
NLL stations closed were:
DLR and Jubilee line services are not affected at the first three of those stations.
The DLR line to Stratford International will use the former NLL low level platforms at Stratford. NLL trains now terminate at new platforms on the north side of the high level station.