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Finsbury Park station

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Title: Finsbury Park station  
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Subject: London King's Cross railway station, Thameslink and Great Northern, Northern City Line, London Buses route 236, Drayton Park railway station
Collection: 1861 Establishments in England, British Transport Police Stations, Dft Category C2 Stations, Former Great Northern and City Railway Stations, Former Great Northern Railway Stations, Former Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway Stations, Piccadilly Line Stations, Railway Stations Closed in 1964, Railway Stations in Islington, Railway Stations Opened in 1861, Railway Stations Opened in 1904, Railway Stations Opened in 1906, Railway Stations Opened in 1965, Thameslink Railway Stations, Tube Stations in Islington, Unopened Northern Heights Extension Stations, Victoria Line Stations
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Finsbury Park station

Finsbury Park
Finsbury Park is located in Greater London
Finsbury Park
Location of Finsbury Park in Greater London
Location Finsbury Park
Local authority London Borough of Islington
Managed by Great Northern
London Underground
Station code FPK
DfT category C2
Number of platforms 12 (8 National Rail,[1] 4 Underground)
Fare zone 2
London Underground annual entry and exit
2011 24.29 million[2]
2012 26.04 million[2]
2013 27.07 million[2]
2014 28.00 million[2]
National Rail annual entry and exit
2007–08 5.546 million[3]
— interchange   2.422 million[3]
2008–09 5.494 million[3]
— interchange   2.629 million[3]
2009–10 6.566 million[3]
— interchange   2.529 million[3]
2010–11 7.337 million[3]
— interchange   1.411 million[3]
2011–12 6.449 million[3]
— interchange   1.240 million[3]
2012–13 6.430 million[3]
— interchange   1.142 million[3]
Railway companies
Original company Great Northern Railway
Pre-grouping Great Northern Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
Key dates
1850 Tracks laid
1861 Opened (GNR)
1867 Opened (Edgware branch)
1904 Opened (GN&CR))
1906 Opened as terminus (GNP&BR)
1932 Became through station (Piccadilly)
1954 Closed (Edgware branch, passengers)
1964 Closed (Northern City Line)
1968 Opened (Victoria)
1970 Closed (Edgware branch)
1976 Opened (Northern City Line)
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
  • Departures
  • Layout
  • Facilities
  • Buses
London Transport portal
UK Railways portal
LNER Ivatt Atlantic at Finsbury Park in 1946

Finsbury Park station is a busy transport interchange in north London. The interchange consists of a National Rail station, a London Underground station and two bus stations, all interconnected. 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, incorporating 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 named after the nearby Finsbury Park, one of the oldest of London's Victorian parks. It is also used by many Arsenal supporters on matchdays, as the club's ground is just a short walk away.

When the Victoria line was built in the 1960s, the walls in Finsbury Park station were decorated with mosaics of duelling pistols,[4] 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.[5] At the same time the long entrance subways and the Wells Terrace booking hall (at the bus station end) were rebuilt to a high standard.

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. British Transport Police maintain a presence at Finsbury Park and have a police station located at the Wells Terrace entrance.[6]

Ticket barriers were installed to platforms 1, 2, 5 and 6 in 2011.


  • History 1
    • 1861 - Great Northern Railway 1.1
    • 1867 - Edgware Branch 1.2
    • 1904 - Great Northern & City Railway 1.3
    • 1906 - Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway 1.4
    • 1932-1933 - Piccadilly line extension 1.5
    • 1935-1954 "Northern Heights" plans and cancellation 1.6
    • 1964-1968 - Victoria line 1.7
    • 1970s - New connections 1.8
    • Future Development 1.9
  • Accidents and incidents 2
  • Current and future National Rail services 3
    • Current services 3.1
    • Proposed enhancements 3.2
  • London Underground 4
  • Connections 5
  • In popular culture 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


1861 - Great Northern Railway

Finsbury Park is on the route of the East Coast Main Line 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 on 1 July 1861 and was originally named Seven Sisters Road (Holloway).[7]

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 Finsbury Park on 15 November 1869.[7] 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 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 main line 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 and Brompton Railway (GNP&BR) (now London Underground's Piccadilly line) opened on 15 December 1906 between Finsbury Park and Hammersmith in west London. The tube railway originated as the Great Northern and Strand Railway (GN&SR) in 1897 and was initially supported by the GNR as a means of relieving congestion on its main line into King's Cross by constructing a tube line under the GNR's tracks from Alexandra Palace to King's Cross and then to the Strand. The GN&SR was taken over in 1901 by a consortium led by Charles Yerkes before any work had been carried out and the section north of Finsbury Park was cancelled. The GN&SR was merged with the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway to form the GNP&BR.[8] It was constructed with the smaller-diameter tube tunnels common to other underground railways being constructed in London at that time. Its platforms were constructed by the GNR parallel with the GN&CR's platforms beneath the main line station.

Down ECML express passing in 1962

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

An LMS Pacific during the 1948 Exchange Trials

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 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

Finsbury Park to Highbury & Islington to Dalston
East Coast Main Line
Finsbury Park
Junctions with
Canonbury Curve
and Northern City Line
towards King's Cross
Bridge to Emirates Stadium
Drayton Park
Victoria line
Canonbury Curve
North London Line
Highbury & Islington
Victoria line
Northern City Line
Dalston Junction
Dalston Kingsland
East London Line
North London Line

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; 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.

Future Development

In June 2008 it was announced that plans by architects Benson & Forsyth had been selected as part of a RIBA competition to redevelop the south-west/Wells Terrace side of the station and surrounding area with an 46,000sqm, £80 million mixed-use proposal.

The proposals, which feature two residential towers, include 480 apartments alongside cafes and restaurants, retail units and a leisure facility still to be decided upon. As part of the proposals, which cover the current pedestrian tunnel from Seven Sisters Road to Wells Terrace and the surrounding ticket hall area, there will be a new concourse and entrance from the underground platforms onto Fonthill Road via Goodwin Street.

A planning application was submitted in December 2009.

Accidents and incidents

On 9 November 1959 a freight train ran away and collided with an empty coaching-stock train. The collision occurred on a bridge over a road, severely damaging the bridge.[9]

Current and future National Rail services

Current services

The above-ground Northern City Line to Moorgate is closed: generally, platform 3 is used by slow southbound services, platform 4 by fast southbound services, platform 5 by fast northbound services and platform 7 by slow northbound services; platform 6 is unused. Platform 5 is the only platform not currently protected by ticket barriers.

Workers testing electricity at Finsbury Park on Platform 5

Finsbury Park is being linked to the Thameslink network, which will provide services to London Bridge and the south coast by 2018.[10]

Proposed enhancements

In February 2008 Network Rail published its East Coast Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy (ECMLRUS).[11] This identified a number of interventions, many of them involving infrastructure projects to enhance the East Coast Main Line (ECML). Among these interventions, improvements to the tracks able to carry passenger trains between Alexandra Palace Station and Finsbury Park were recommended. In March 2009 Network Rail published its CP4 Delivery Plan 2009, including Enhancements programme: statement of scope, outputs and milestones, confirming many of the recommended interventions. In particular, part of this work just outlined was scheduled to be completed by 2014, and will involve the bringing back into service of a presently-abandoned southbound platform, currently adjacent to a goods-only line on the south-east side of Finsbury Park station. This was again confirmed in the June 2010 update to the plan.[12] It is expected that Moorgate-bound services will utilise this platform. Work on the two new platform faces was completed in the summer of 2013, with regular use commencing at the December 2013 timetable change. Since that date regular use of platform 3 has ceased, with platforms 1 and 2 now used instead.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
London Kings Cross   Great Northern
Northern City Line
(Evenings and Weekends only)
  Harringay or
Drayton Park   Great Northern
Northern City Line
London Kings Cross   Great Northern
Great Northern Route (London-Cambridge route, semi-fast)
  Potters Bar
Stevenage or
London Kings Cross   Great Northern
Great Northern Route (London-Peterborough route, semi-fast)
  Potters Bar
  Future Development  
St Pancras International   Thameslink
Disused railways
London Kings Cross
  British Railways
Eastern Region

Edgware, Highgate & London
  Stroud Green
King's Cross

King's Cross
York Road
  British Rail
Eastern Region

City Widened Lines

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. 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. Manual ticket inspections by ticket inspectors and the British Transport Police do, however, regularly take place to combat fare evasion and ticketless travel. Stand-alone Oystercard validators are available by the station entrances for "pay as you go" customers to touch in and out.

Preceding station   London Underground   Following station
Piccadilly line
towards Cockfosters
towards Brixton
Victoria line
  Former Service  
Preceding station   London Underground   Following station
Terminus Northern line
Northern City branch
towards Moorgate
  Abandoned Northern Heights Extension  
Preceding station   London Underground   Following station
Northern line
towards Moorgate


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

In popular culture

The railway station is featured in the music video for Jim Diamond's number one hit "I Should Have Known Better".

In JoWood Productions' 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.

See also


  1. ^ Finsbury Park station has eight National Rail platforms, numbered 1 to 8, but only six tracks given that platforms 2/3 and 6/7 share a single track each.
  2. ^ a b c d "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics.   Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  4. ^ Day, John R. (1969). The Story of the Victoria Line. Westminster:  
  5. ^ tfl webpage; see external links
  6. ^ British Transport Police, London Underground Area
  7. ^ a b Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. pp. 97,208.  
  8. ^ Badsey-Ellis, Antony (2005). London's Lost Tube Schemes. Capital Transport. pp. 77 and 138.  
  9. ^ Earnshaw, Alan (1989). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 5. Penryn: Atlantic Books. p. 38.  
  10. ^ "Major raft of improvements begins at Finsbury Park". First Capital Connect. 
  11. ^ East Coast main Line RUS
  12. ^ NR Enhancements delivery plan. June 2010 update, pages 112 and 117-120

External links

  • London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
    • Seven Sisters Road entrance to underground station, 1909
    • Wells Terrace entrance, 1925
    • Ticket office, 1934, when the Northern City Line was still operated by the Metropolitan line
    • LNER Station, 1935
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