Finsbury Park station

Infobox London station
name = Finsbury Park

caption = Eastern entrance on Station Place
manager = First Capital Connect
London Underground
zone = 2
locale = Finsbury Park
borough = London Borough of Islington
years = 1850
events =Tracks laid
Opened (GNR)
Opened (Edgware branch)
Opened (GN&CR))
Opened as terminus (GNP&BR)
Became through station (Piccadilly)
Closed (Edgware branch, passengers)
Closed (Northern City Line)
Opened (Victoria)
Closed (Edgware branch)
Opened (Northern City Line)
platforms=9 (5 National Rail, 4 Underground)
latitude = 51.564653
longitude = -0.106366
railexits0405 = 5.022
railexits0506 = 5.042
railexits0607 = 5.875

Finsbury Park Station is a busy transport interchange in North London. The interchange consists of an interconnected National Rail station, London Underground station and two bus stations. The main entrances are by the eastern bus station on Station Place. The National Rail ticket office here lies in between one entrance marked by the Underground roundel symbol, while the other is marked by the National Rail symbol, and provides direct access to the main line platforms. There is another exit by the western bus station along Wells Terrace, incoroporating the Underground ticket office, plus a narrow side entrance to the south on the A503 Seven Sisters Road. The complex is located in Travelcard Zone 2.

The station is close to Finsbury Park, one of the oldest of London's Victorian parks, and the Finsbury Park mosque. It is also used by many Arsenal supporters on matchdays, as the club's ground is just a short walk away, along Isledon or St Thomas' Roads.

When the Victoria Line was built in the 1960s, the walls in Finsbury Park station were decorated with mosaics of hot air balloons and duelling pistols, which can still be seen. This was based on a mistaken identification of Finsbury Park with Finsbury Fields, which was used by Londoners since medieval times for archery and sports, and also associated with 18th century duels and one of the first hot air balloon flights. However, Finsbury Fields actually occupied a location close to the present-day Finsbury Square. [tfl webpage; see external links]

Finsbury Park station has a long and complex history involving the participation of many railway companies during its lifetime and has been subject to a number of operational changes and changes to the configuration of station infrastructure.


1861 - Great Northern Railway

Finsbury Park is on the route of the East Coast Mainline from King's Cross to the north of England and Scotland. The southern section of this was built in stages during the 1840s and early 1850s by the Great Northern Railway (GNR). Tracks were first laid through Finsbury Park in 1850 to the GNR's temporary terminus at Maiden Lane just north of the permanent terminus at King's Cross (which opened in 1852). The first station at Finsbury Park opened in 1861 and was originally named Seven Sisters Road (Holloway).

1867 - Edgware Branch

Soon after the first station opened, the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway (EH&LR) began construction of a line from Finsbury Park to Edgware. The GNR took over the EH&LR shortly before its opening on 22 August 1867. The station was given its current name in 1869. The Edgware branch platforms were on each side of the main tracks. The southbound ("up") track of the branch crossed over the main line by a bridge on its way into the station.

1904 - Great Northern & City Railway

The Great Northern & City Railway (GN&CR) was an underground railway planned to provide a tunnel link between Finsbury Park and Moorgate in the City of London as an alternative London terminus for GNR trains. The tunnels were constructed with a large diameter to accommodate this service but a dispute between the two companies prevented the GN&CR connecting its tunnels to the GNR platforms. The GN&CR tunnels, instead, terminated beneath the mainline station without a connection to the surface and the line operated as a shuttle between Finsbury Park and Moorgate. The line opened on 14 February 1904.

1906 - Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway

The Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway (GNP&BR) (now London Underground's Piccadilly Line) opened on 15 December 1906 between Finsbury Park and Hammersmith in west London. Like the GN&CR, it was an underground railway but was constructed with the smaller diameter tube tunnels common to other underground railways being constructed in London at that time. Its platforms were constructed parallel with the GN&CR's platforms beneath the mainline station.

1932-1933 - Piccadilly Line extension

The transport interchange at Finsbury Park had long been recognised as a severe bottle-neck for passengers heading north from central London and calls had been regularly made to improve the situation by extending northwards one of the two underground lines serving the station. Until the mid 1920s this had been resisted by the GNR and its successor the LNER as a threat to its suburban passenger traffic, but mounting pressure finally forced the LNER to relinquish its veto and lift its objections to the Underground making an extension.

With financial support from the government, the Underground began construction of an extension of the Piccadilly Line northwards to Cockfosters and the first section, to Arnos Grove, opened on 19 September 1932. The route was opened fully on 31 July 1933.

1935-1954 "Northern Heights" plans and cancellation

By 1935 the GNR had become part of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) and the GN&CR had become the Northern City branch of London Underground's Northern Line (having previously, in 1913, been bought by the Metropolitan Railway, the forerunner to London Underground's Metropolitan Line).

In 1935, London Underground announced its . This included plans to take over the steam-operated LNER branch lines from Finsbury Park to Edgware, High Barnet and Alexandra Palace - collectively known as the "Northern Heights" lines. These routes were to be joined to the Northern City Line by the construction of new tracks from Drayton Park to the surface at Finsbury Park as had originally been intended by the GN&CR. Trains would then have been able to run from any of the three LNER termini to Moorgate. The Northern City Line tunnels from Drayton Park to Finsbury Park would have been taken out of use. A separate connection between Archway Underground station (then named Highgate) and East Finchley station was also planned, including a new Underground station below the then-existing surface station at Highgate.

In early 1939 London Underground announced that the Drayton Park to Alexandra Palace route would begin operation in autumn 1940) The start of the Second World War caused the postponement and eventual cancellation of this and much of the other plans, leaving operations at Finsbury Park unchanged. The surface connection between Drayton Park and Finsbury Park was abandoned and the Northern City Line continued to run between Moorgate and Finsbury Park in tunnel. Traffic on the Edgware branch diminished and it was closed to passengers in 1954.

1964-1968 - Victoria line

London Underground had for many years been planning a new route across central London to relieve pressure on the central sections of the Piccadilly and Northern Lines. In the early 1960s the plans were consolidated into a single plan for the Victoria Line. The route of the new line was designed to provide the maximum number of interchanges with other Underground and British Rail lines as possible and Finsbury Park was an ideal candidate for this.

The plan for Finsbury Park called for the reconfiguration of the four underground platforms used by the Northern City Line and the Piccadilly line. To allow the construction works necessary for the provision of cross-platform interchanges between the Piccadilly and the Victoria Lines the Northern City service to Finsbury Park was ended on 3 October 1964. After this date trains from Moorgate ran only as far as Drayton Park.

The Northern City platforms became the southbound platforms for both the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines which were connected to the previously dead-end tunnels to the north of the platforms. The old southbound Piccadilly Line platform then became the Victoria Line northbound platform, with the northbound Piccadilly Line platform unchanged. New connecting tunnels were constructed. There are cross-over connections between each pair of northbound and southbound tunnels to enable stock transfers, given that the Victoria line is otherwise completely self-contained.

The first section of the Victoria line, including Finsbury Park, opened between Walthamstow Central and Highbury & Islington on 1 September 1968.

1970s - New connections

London Underground continued to use the Edgware branch occasionally for stock movements between its depot at Highgate and Finsbury Park until September 1970. The tracks were removed in 1971 and the platforms at Finsbury Park which served this line were demolished and their location is now the pedestrian access to the eastern station entrance. The bridge over Stroud Green Road which carried the tracks was removed. The abutment walls remain.

In 1976 part of the abandoned Northern Heights plan was completed in reverse. The Northern City Line, which had originally run to the underground part of the station was transferred from London Underground to British Rail. An unfinished surface connection between Drayton Park and Finsbury Park begun as part of the "Northern Heights" project was completed to make it possible to bring trains to the surface at Finsbury Park and run through trains from Moorgate on to the north. The service commenced operation on 8 November 1976.

Current services

National Rail

The above-ground National Rail station, which has a separate ticket office to the Underground station, is managed and served by First Capital Connect. Trains from Moorgate and Kings Cross form inner suburban services to Welwyn Garden City and Hertford North and outer suburban services start from Kings Cross towards Peterborough and Cambridge. Inner suburban service do not serve the Moorgate branch during late evenings and at weekends, being diverted to London Kings Cross instead.

Former Services


London Underground

The station is served by the Piccadilly and Victoria lines. Although thought of as a 'deep-level' tube station, Finsbury Park has neither lifts nor escalators as its lines are less than 20' (6.1 m) below street level, though there used to be lifts from the high-level platforms to the tube level. These were the last hydraulically operated lifts on LT. The access to the Piccadilly and Victoria line platforms is by staircase only, reached via two narrow passages that physically prevent the installation of automatic ticket barriers - remarkable, considering its Zone 2 location. Manual ticket inspections do, however, regularly take place. Oystercard readers are available for "pay as you go" customers.

Abandoned Works


Bus connections

London Buses routes that serve the bus stations include 4, 19, 29, 106, 153, 210, 236, 253, 254, 259, 279, W3 and W7 and night bus routes N19, N29, N106, N236, N253 and N279 serve the station.

The station in fiction

In JoWooD's transport game Traffic Giant, the opening video shows a station platform (similar to a typical London Underground station) bearing the station name Finsbury Park.

Finsbury Park is also a character created by the comedian Harry Hill and the station's name was used as a term of amazement and exclamation by British comedy double-act Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer during the series Vic Reeves Big Night Out.

ee also

*Graham Bond musician (died at the station).


External links

* [ London Transport Museum Photographic Archive]
** ltmcollection|22/9861222.jpg|Seven Sisters Road entrance to underground station in 1909
** ltmcollection|09/9861209.jpg|Wells Terrace entrance in 1925
** ltmcollection|32/9865932.jpg|Ticket office in 1934, when the Northern City Line was still operated by the Metropolitan Line
** ltmcollection|14/9857214.jpg|LNER Station in 1935

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