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14 January 2010 | News, Transport | By: Dean Nicholas

Northern Line Rush-Hour Split Confirmed

Northern Line Rush-Hour Split Confirmed

Photo / buckaroo kid

The long-rumoured plan for a potential divorce of the Northern line has apparently been confirmed by the man in charge of the route.

The idea, which has existed since at least TfL's Transport 2025 document (released 2006), is to have two, distinct lines: one running from Edgware to Kennington (and possibly beyond to Battersea) via Charing Cross, the other from High Barnet to Morden via Bank. The current cross-dressing at Camden Town, where the lines flip over each other, would come to an end, meaning that if, say, you were travelling from Archway to Embankment, you would need to change at Camden. Same goes if your trip runs from Hampstead to Old Street.

Responding to questions by a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, Northern line general manager Pat Hansberry confirmed that TfL plans to split the line for the evening rush hour by the end of the decade, and said that the system was already being implemented for northbound trains in the morning.

Advantages? An increase in trains on the two lines (from 22-25 trains per hour up to 30 on the central London sections), meaning an increase in capacity. Disadvantages? Well, there'd be an increase in the number of passengers switching trains at Camden Town, something that may require the station to be partly re-built. We've witnessed recently at Edgware Road the chaos that can result from ill-thought through changes to Tube line behaviour.

It's possible (though unlikely) that they may give the semi-separate lines distinct colours on the Tube map, and even different names. In the interest of geographical equality, we'd quite like to see the branch down to Morden re-christened the Southern line.

Dean Nicholas

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I'm just about in favour of this, if they can sort out the crowding problems at Camden Town. Makes things a lot simpler for people unfamiliar with the line. I'm very familiar with it, but still occasionally get confused at Euston/Camden Town during my less lucid moments.


If the situation at Edgware Road due to the new Hammersmith & Circle line change, let's just hope that this move of lines will be better thought out. I've just bout given up on the new H&C due to the overcrowding at Paddington and now use the Bakerloo and Central lines to work, even though it is about 5 mins longer, at least it is safer on the platforms, usually !!


I thought that this is already the case at all times bar the rush hour, no? Certainly from the south end of the line it is pretty much impossible to get a direct Charing Cross train except for the occasional one in the rush hour.

I think the split at Camden has been mooted for almost 10 years now, but that a pre-requisite was the complete reconstruction of Camden Town tube station, to ease the anticipated crowding.

Have they just decided to hell with redoing Camden?


The paper has completely misinterpreted what he said... if you read it properly, he's saying that just as Northbound AM peak trains are currently segregated (Kennington-Edgware and Morden-High Barnet), Southbound PM peak trains only will be segregated in the same way.

This means that commuters coming in from North London and going back home in the evening will still have direct trains from both Bank & Charing X to both Edgware & High Barnet - but that people heading into town in the evening rush won't.


Hey, has everyone forgotten that Mayor Boris made a campaign promise NOT to split the Northern Line? I don't fancy the idea of navigating my way through the human zoo that is Camden station every time I head for the West End.