Essex Road railway station
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Entrance on Canonbury Road
Location of Essex Road in Greater London
|Local authority||London Borough of Islington|
|Managed by||First Capital Connect|
|Number of platforms||2|
|National Rail annual entry and exit|
|1975||Closed (Northern City Line)|
|1976||Opened (British Rail City Line)|
|Lists of stations|
| London Transport portal
UK Railways portalCoordinates:
Essex Road railway station is a National Rail station in Islington. It is on the Northern City Line between Old Street and Highbury & Islington and is in Travelcard Zone 2. The station is located at the junction of Essex Road, Canonbury Road and New North Road, with the present entrance on Canonbury Road. It is the only deep level underground station in London served solely by National Rail trains. It is operated by First Capital Connect. Between 1933 and 1975 the station was operated as part of the London Underground, as a short branch of the Northern Line. Between 1922 and 1948 the station name was Canonbury & Essex Road. The name reverted to the original form in 1948.
The station was opened on 14 February 1904 by the Great Northern & City Railway (GN&CR) on its underground route between the Great Northern Railway (GNR) station at Finsbury Park and the Metropolitan Railway (MR) and City & South London Railway (C&SLR) station at Moorgate in the City of London.
The GN&CR was intended to carry main line trains and the tunnels were constructed with a larger diameter (16 ft/4.9 m) than the other deep tube railways being built at that time (roughly 11 to 12 ft/3.4 m to 3.7 m). From 1913 the MR took control of the GN&CR and ran it under its own name until it became part of the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) in 1933. In preparation for the LPTB's "Northern Heights" plan the line was transferred to the control of the Morden-Edgware Line (now the Northern Line).
The Northern Heights plan involved the building of a connection to the surface platforms at Finsbury Park and the transfer of a London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) branch from there to Edgware, High Barnet and Alexandra Palace. By 1939 much of the work for the connection of the lines had been done and the opening of the connection was scheduled for autumn 1940 but the start of World War II put a halt to further construction. After the war the uncompleted parts of the plan were cancelled and Northern Line trains continued to run to Finsbury Park on what became known as the Northern City Line or, from 1970, the Northern Line Highbury Branch.
The station was, from the early 1960s, closed on Sundays. In the 1970s it was also closed on Saturdays.
On 4 October 1975 the Northern City Line was closed (due to its weekend closure, Essex Road closed the day before) and ceased to be part of the London Underground. The line was transferred to British Rail (BR) and the unused connection between Drayton Park and Finsbury Park from the cancelled Northern Heights plan finally received the tracks to connect the line to the surface platforms at Finsbury Park. On 8 August 1976, the City Line reopened as part of the BR network with mainline size trains running to Old Street. On 8 November 1976, seventy-two years after the GN&CR first opened, the line was opened fully for mainline trains from Moorgate to Finsbury Park and beyond as had been originally intended.
By comparison with other underground stations built at the beginning of the 20th century, the station's surface building is nondescript and unremarkable. Unlike many other central London underground stations, Essex Road was never modernised with escalators and access to the platforms is by lift or a spiral staircase. The station also lacks the automatic ticket gates present at most London Underground and many National Rail stations.
At the lower level the lifts and staircase (of 157 steps) are connected to the platforms via a passageway and a short staircase rising between the two tunnels. The Underground's former operation of the station is evident from the unused and rusty fourth rail which once provided a return of the current from the tube trains serving the line. The third rail is still in use, with return now through the running rails. Signs at street and platform level still mention Network SouthEast, even though it is now First Capital Connect that serves this station. Trains do not serve the line during late evenings and at weekends, being diverted to London King's Cross instead.
Essex Road is a station on the proposed Chelsea-Hackney line. This scheme is currently being pursued by the developers of Crossrail (and is therefore often referred to as Crossrail 2). It is not yet decided whether this line would be built to National Rail or London Underground standards. If the latter, it would connect Essex Road station to the London Underground network for the first time since the Northern City Line was transferred away from the Northern Line. According to current plans, on the Chelsea-Hackney line Essex Road would be located between Angel and Dalston Junction. Trains would go to King's Cross St. Pancras, Epping and South West London. 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Essex Road railway station.|
London Buses Routes 38, 56, 73, 271, 341, 476 and Night Routes N38 and N73 serve the station.
- Train times and station information for Essex Road railway station from National Rail
- London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Highbury & Islington||First Capital Connect
Northern City Line
|Abandoned Northern Heights Line|
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
towards Bushey Heath
towards Alexandra Palace