The Secret Bits Of The Northern Line

Geoff Marshall shares his favourite bits of Tube trivia from the Northern Line.

Where can you find the Tube’s highest and lowest points? Which station fibs about the number of stairs? What’s the significance of the archer statue at East Finchley? And where can you spy a fake owl monitoring the platforms?

You might recognise Geoff from a recent BBC film documenting his attempts to regain the record for visiting all the Tube stations in one day.

Feel free to share your own favourite bits of Northern Line trivia in the comments below.

See also
The Secret Bits of the Victoria Line

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Article by Geoff Marshall | 74 Articles | View Profile | Twitter

  • Paul

    There’s a nice pictorial record of the Northern Line here:

    • londona729


  • JohnnyC

    Can you actually ride the Kennington Loop? I thought the driver cleared the train before it moves on?

    • Geoff Marshall

      that’s… the whole point!

      they used to have someone to clear it. but that A) Took time, B) Cost them money to employ someone to do that

      so they upgraded the loop of track to for it to be safe for passenger transport. so if you don’t get off the train, no one checks, and .. yup! you get to ride around the loop to Kennington! 😀

      • londona729

        Next time I have time and am in London I’ll ride the loop!

  • M4tth3w

    When talking about Mill Hill East, on screen it says that it’s one of only three single platform stations on the Underground… I make it four…

    • Geoff Marshall

      Mill Hill East, Chesham and Heathrow 4 are on my list! Where’s the fourth?

      • M4tth3w

        Olympia? (unless you’re counting the fact that it’s part of a larger station; as there’s no track link from NR to LU there so I’d say it’s still a single Underground platform.)

  • BadgerSpanner

    Would have been a nice touch to put the North End and South Kentish Town stations in but I can imagine it would have been an absolute nightmare to film.

  • Richard Evans-Lacey

    Enjoyed that. Thank you.

  • Richard Graham

    Really good :) Shame you couldn’t go into too much detail because of the time though. Never mind. Room for a sequel perhaps?

  • DaveK

    Great stuff Geoff, nice and informative. I must try the Kennington loop :)

  • Chuck Boyd

    Geoff, really enjoyed that! Sure hope people there realize you are the go-to-person regarding The Tube. Best of luck.


  • Scholastiquesmith
  • slickmick

    Well done, Geoff – very evocative for someone who used to live a mile from Edgware and who explored the the railway from Highgate to Alexandra Palace.

    When will the line from Morden be extended throigh the Northern Line sidings down to Sutton?

  • Peter Twist

    There used to be another loop at Embankment, to allow the trains to turn around before the line was extended to Morden. This explains the curved northbound platform, hence “mind the gap”! The loop extended under the river and, although sealed up, was struck by a wartime bomb with dramatic consequences. IanVisits on 26/11/11 gives a full account.

  • Konstantin

    great episode! :) thanks, Geoff.

  • viv

    awww nothing interesting at colindale? where I used to live xx

  • Rowan Beckworth

    great! always wondered what happened if you stayed on at Kennington..

  • DaNi Shalom

    Theres a short girl who works at Oval, some saturdays..if you ask her to show you her “Ovals” she WILL whoop out a drawing of her ovaries!

  • Margaret

    About the the Angel station. I first started coming to London from the US in the summer in 1992, and the single-platform station was still extent. So, it is more like twenty years ago that the Angel station was revamped. In the old days, the way down was via a long elevator ride rather than the long escalator ride now there.

  • Stuart

    The North End ghost station known as Bull and Bush has an entrance close to where Hampstead Way meets North End road. I’m told that it was disguised as an electricity sub-station at the beginning of WWII.

  • Marco Pirazzoli

    you didn’t mention that between Bank and Moorgate, the platforms cross each other and they eventually swap place!!!!!

  • Lamine Aimouche

    i use to take this line alot 😉

  • Richard Brownnutt

    As a kid, I remember a plaque above the tunnels at Morden (too far to see from the platforms, but could be seen from the car park) which talked of a world record rail tunnel from Morden to Finchley. Obviously superseded by the Channel Tunnel and others, but did this plaque exist or did I dream it? And where is it now?!

  • Richard Brownnutt

    Also, I remember a large sports ground near North Cheam which had an LT roundal outside it on a high post. Locals said it was to be the site of North Cheam station (with the Morden line extending south through the depot). Is this true? Were there to be any intermediate stations e.g. at Stonecot Hill?

    • Geoff Marshall

      Richard, there were plans to extend the Northern Line down to sutton, and LT bought up land at North Cheam for a station site, but it never happened. So the land was turned into the LT sports ground for a while until Sainsbury’s bought it up and became part of their superstore.

      I always like to think there may have been a ‘Stonecott Hitt’ station at the junction of Tudor Drive, yes. What might have been, eh?

      • Richard Brownnutt

        A Stonecot Hill station would have been very handy given I live round the corner!!
        What about the plaque above the Morden tunnels? Ever heard of that?

  • Wombleman

    There used to be a corresponding arrow at Morden Station, but it was stolen.