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Finchley Central tube station

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Finchley Central London Underground
Finchley Central station.jpg
Finchley Central is located in Greater London
Finchley Central
Finchley Central
Location of Finchley Central in Greater London
Location Finchley
Local authority London Borough of Barnet
Managed by London Underground
Number of platforms 3
Accessible Yes [1]
Fare zone 4
London Underground annual entry and exit
2011 Increase 5.49 million[2]
2012 Increase 5.51 million[2]
2013 Decrease 5.33 million[2]
2014 Increase 5.68 million[2]
Railway companies
Original company Edgware, Highgate and London Railway
Pre-grouping Great Northern Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
Key dates
1867 Opened (GNR)
1940 Started (Northern line)
1941 Ended (LNER)
1962 Goods yard closed
Other information
Lists of stations
London Transport portalCoordinates: 51°36′04″N 0°11′33″W / 51.6011°N 0.1924°W / 51.6011; -0.1924

Finchley Central is a London Underground station in the Church End area of Finchley, north London. The station is on the High Barnet branch of the Northern line, between West Finchley and East Finchley stations, and is the junction for the short branch to Mill Hill East station. The station is in Travelcard Zone 4.

The station was opened in 1867 as part of the Great Northern Railway's line between Finsbury Park and Edgware stations. A branch from Finchley Central to High Barnet opened in 1872. As part of London Underground's Northern Heights plan, Northern line trains started serving the station in 1940 and main line passenger services ended in 1941.


Original station[edit]

A map shows a station with a few buildings nearby, but surrounded mostly by fields
Finchley Central station before the construction of the branch to High Barnet on an Ordnance Survey map

Finchley Central station was built by the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway (EH&LR) on its line from Finsbury Park to Edgware station. Before the line was opened it was purchased in July 1867 by the larger Great Northern Railway (GNR), whose main line from King's Cross ran through Finsbury Park on its way to Potters Bar and the north.[3]

The station, originally named Finchley and Hendon, opened along with the railway to Edgware on 22 August 1867 in what was then rural Middlesex.[4][5] It was 7 miles 29 chains (11.8 km) from the GNR terminus at King's Cross.[6][7][n 1] A branch line to High Barnet was constructed by the GNR and opened on 1 April 1872.[5] The station was renamed by the GNR twice: to Finchley on 1 February 1872 and Finchley (Church End) on 1 February 1894. It was given its current name on 1 April 1940.[4][8] After the 1921 Railways Act created the Big Four railway companies, the GNR became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1923.[9]

Northern Heights project[edit]

In 1935, the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) announced a proposal, which became known as the Northern Heights project, to take over the LNER lines from Finsbury Park to Edgware, High Barnet and Alexandra Palace, and link them to both the Northern line at East Finchley and to the Northern City line at Finsbury Park.[n 2] The line from Finchley Central to Edgware closed for electrification and reconstruction on 11 September 1939.[11]

The station was first served by electric Northern line trains on 14 April 1940 when the service was extended from East Finchley to High Barnet.[12] After a period where the station was serviced by both operators, LNER steam services were ended on 2 March 1941.[13] Following the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, completion of the electrification works on the line to Edgware was slowed and was completed only as far as Mill Hill East. Northern line services to Mill Hill East began on 18 May 1941 to serve the nearby Inglis Barracks.[13]


After the war, plans to complete the Northern Heights project were reviewed but no work was carried out. Maintenance works and reconstruction of war damage on the existing network had the greatest call on London Underground funds. Funds for new works were severely limited and priority was given to the completion of the western and eastern extensions of the Central line to West Ruislip, Epping and Hainault.[14] Despite being shown as under construction on underground maps as late as 1950,[n 3] work never restarted on the unimplemented parts of the Northern Heights project.[19][n 4]

British Rail (the successor to the LNER) freight trains continued to serve the station's goods yard until 1962, when it was closed.[22][n 5]

Charles Holden and Reginald Uren designed replacement buildings for the station to be built on both sides of the road bridge at the north end of the station, but the curtailment of the Northern Heights Plan means that this was not implemented and the station still retains much of its original Victorian architectural character today.[24] As one of two EH&LR stations retaining its original buildings (with Mill Hill East), it is one of the oldest parts of the Underground system, pre-dating the first tunnelled section of the Northern line (the City & South London Railway) by more than twenty years.[n 6]

The station today[edit]

A view along a station platform. The main station building is to the right across a pair of tracks. A footbridge spans between the platforms.
Finchley Central station looking north-west from the island platform
A view through a red-brick archway of a bridge. A complex of railway tracks interconnected with points is in the foreground with a train in the distance
Junction north of station: ahead towards Mill Hill East, right towards West Finchley

The station has two entrances. The main one, on the north side of the tracks, is from Chaville Way, an access road from the junction of Ballards Lane, Regents Park Road and Nether Street. The second entrance is to the south of the tracks in Station Road. The two entrances are joined by a footbridge over the tracks from which stairs and lifts connect to the platforms. The station is accessible for disabled passengers in both directions.[1] The station contains a car park, toilets,[n 7] payphones, ticket machines and an ultrafast Wifi service.[26][27]

The station has three platforms. Platforms 1 and 2, which share an island platform, are for northbound trains: platform 1 is used mainly by trains terminating at Finchley Central (and trains reverse using a headshunt) or going to Mill Hill East; platform 2 is mainly used by trains going to High Barnet. Platform 3, a side platform, is for southbound trains. All platforms have canopies at the northern end of the platforms and digital departure boards are also in place (as seen in the first picture).

Services and connections[edit]

The station is in Travelcard Zone 4, between West Finchley and East Finchley.[28] Train frequencies vary throughout the day, but generally operate every 3–7 minutes between 05:44 and 01:05 northbound to West Finchley and 05:31 and 00:59 southbound (as of 2015).[29][30] Trains to Mill Hill East operate between 05:35 and 01:06.[31]

Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
towards High Barnet
Northern line
towards Morden or Kennington

London Bus routes 82, 125, 143, 326, 382 and 460, night routes N13 and N20, and school routes 626 and 683 serve the station.[32] Bus route 82 starts at North Finchley and ends at Victoria while route 125 goes from Finchley Central St. Mary's Church to Winchmore Hill. Bus routes 143 and 326 start from Brent Cross shopping centre and ends at Archway and Barnet (The Spires) respectively. Bus route 382 runs from Milbrook Park to Southgate while route 460 begins at North Finchley and terminates at Willesden. Night route N13 stretches from Aldwych to North Finchley while route N20 starts at Barnet Church and ends at Trafalgar Square. School route 626 starts here and terminates at Dame Alice Owen's School whereas route 683 goes from Friern Barnet to Kingsbury.[32]

Cultural references[edit]

Finchley Central was the station used in the 1930s by Harry Beck, designer of the original Tube map. There is a commemorative plaque on Platform 3, together with a facsimile poster of Beck's iconic 1933 design.[33]

The station features in the Finchley Central mind game, which in turn became the basis for the game Mornington Crescent in the BBC Radio 4 series I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.[34]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Railways in the United Kingdom are, for historical reasons, measured in miles and chains. There are 80 chains to the mile.
  2. ^ At Edgware, the LNER's station was to be closed with the end of the line diverted into the Northern line's own Edgware station, with an extension from there taking the line to Bushey Heath.[10]
  3. ^ Shown as "under construction", the Northern Heights extensions appeared for the first time on Underground poster maps in 1937 and pocket maps in 1938.[15][16] After the opening of the line to Mill Hill East, the uncompleted remainder of the works were removed from the map between 1943 and 1945.[16] The Mill Hill East to Edgware and Edgware to Bushey Heath sections appeared on the map again from 1946 to 1949 and the Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace section appeared from 1946 to 1950.[17][18]
  4. ^ The section of the extension between Brockley Hill and Bushey Heath was cancelled in October 1950,[20] leaving the section between Edgware and Brockley Hill and the conversion of the line from Mill Hill East to Edgware to be decided. The announcement of its cancellation was finally made in February 1954.[21]
  5. ^ Freight services continued on the Edgware branch until 1964.[23]
  6. ^ The City & South London Railway opened in 1890 between King William Street in the City of London and Stockwell in Lambeth.[12]
  7. ^ This includes male, female and disabled toilets inside the ticket gateline.[25]


  1. ^ a b "Step free Tube Guide" (PDF). Transport for London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. June 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Beard 2002, p. 6.
  4. ^ a b Butt 1995, p. 96.
  5. ^ a b "Northern Line - Dates". Clive's Underground Line Guides. 27 January 2015. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  6. ^ Deaves, Phil. "Engineers' Line References: ECM1 - King's Cross to Shaftholme Junction". Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Deaves, Phil. "Engineers' Line References: HBB - High Barnet Branch". Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  8. ^ Harris 2001, p. 28.
  9. ^ Wolmar 2005, p. 227.
  10. ^ Beard 2002, p. 59.
  11. ^ Beard 2002, p. 92.
  12. ^ a b Rose 1999.
  13. ^ a b Day & Reed 2010, p. 140.
  14. ^ Bownes, Green & Mullins 2012, p. 173.
  15. ^ Beard 2002, pp. 56–57.
  16. ^ a b "London Transport Underground Maps 1938–1945". Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "London Transport Underground Maps 1946–1947". Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  18. ^ "London Transport Underground Maps 1948–1956". Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  19. ^ Day & Reed 2010, p. 152.
  20. ^ Beard 2002, p. 126.
  21. ^ Beard 2002, p. 127.
  22. ^ Hardy 2011, pp. 175–183.
  23. ^ "Highgate Station". Disused stations. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  24. ^ "Gallery Search". Royal Institute of British Architects. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  25. ^ "Toilets Map" (PDF). Transport for London. May 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  26. ^ "Finchley Central Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  27. ^ "Tube customers better connected as WiFi reaches 100 more stations" (Press release). Transport for London. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  28. ^ Transport for London (May 2015). Standard Tube Map (PDF) (Map). Not to scale. Transport for London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 June 2015. 
  29. ^ "Northern line timetable: From Finchley Central Underground Station to West Finchley Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  30. ^ "Northern line timetable: From Finchley Central Underground Station to East Finchley Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  31. ^ "Northern line timetable: From Finchley Central Underground Station to Mill Hill East Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  32. ^ a b "Buses from Finchley Central" (PDF). Transport for London. 30 April 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  33. ^ Martin 2012, p. 202.
  34. ^ Partington, Jonathan R.. "Paradoxes and Unplayable Games". Retrieved 27 September 2015. 


  • Beard, Tony (2002). By Tube Beyond Edgware. Capital Transport. ISBN 978-1-85414-246-7. 
  • Bownes, David; Green, Oliver; Mullins, Sam (2012). Underground: How the Tube Shaped London. Allen Lane. ISBN 978-1-84614-462-2. 
  • Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. 
  • Day, John R; Reed, John (2010) [1963]. The Story of London's Underground (11th ed.). Capital Transport. ISBN 978-1-85414-341-9. 
  • Hardy, Brian, ed. (March 2011). "How it used to be - freight on The Underground 50 years ago". Underground News (London Underground Railway Society) (591). ISSN 0306-8617. 
  • Harris, Cyril M. (2001) [1977]. What's in a name? (4th ed.). Capital Transport. ISBN 978-1-85414-241-2. 
  • Martin, Andrew (2012). Underground Overground: A Passenger's History of the London Underground. Profile Books. ISBN 978-1-84668-478-4. 
  • Rose, Douglas (1999) [1980]. The London Underground, A Diagrammatic History (7th ed.). Douglas Rose/Capital Transport. ISBN 978-1-85414-219-1. 
  • Wolmar, Christian (2005) [2004]. The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City Forever. Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-84354-023-6. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Finchley Central tube station at Wikimedia Commons