Station Name: EDGWARE (GNR)

[Source: Nick Catford]


Date opened: 22.8.1867
Location: East side of Station Road. The site is now occupied by Premier House a public car park and the Broadwalk shopping centre.
Company on opening: Great Northern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 11.9.1939
Date closed completely: 1.6.1964
Company on closing: London & North Eastern Railway
Present state: Demolished
County: Middlesex
OS Grid Ref: TQ194917
Date of visit: March 1975 & 7.7.2012

Notes: Edgware was built as a through station on the assumption that the line would be extended to Watford as planned. The extension was, however, never built. The line would have encroached into LNWR territory which could have led to animosity between the LNWR and the GNR. The GNR were also unsure whether the line was financially viable. As a result, the scheme was dropped and officially abandoned by an Act of 1870.

As built, the station had two side platforms with the main building at the west end of the down platform. The building, which incorporated a two-storey stationmaster's house, also comprised a booking office, ladies’ room, waiting room, gentlemen’s toilet, and parcels office.

Once it was clear that the Watford extension would not be built, the up platform was not used after 1872 and was soon demolished.

There was a moderately sized goods yard to the south-west of the passenger station. This comprised four sidings, one running parallel to the down line. After passing through a large brick goods shed it terminated just short of the station building. There was a weighbridge near the west end of the shed. Three parallel sidings ran to the south of the goods shed and
served a coal yard. Each of the sidings had a wagon turntable. There was also a 5-ton crane: photographic evidence from the 1970s shows two cranes, although one could be associated with the later scrap yard on the site.


There are many published maps showing the Northern Line extensions, and not all of them get it right. This map shows the Northern line extended to Bushey Heath but the line from Finchley has been diverted into a new LNER station adjacent to the Northern Line station

On the north side of the up line a short siding veered of to the north passing over a 40ft turntable to reach a single-road timber engine shed. The shed opened on 27 August 1867, a few days after the line. It was short- lived, however, closing in 1878. It stood empty for a short time before being blown down in a freak blizzard in 1881. At the east end of this siding there was a brick building with a coaling stage below and a 13,500 gallon water tank on top. After closure of the goods shed the turntable was removed and the siding was shortened. The water tank remained in use until the withdrawal of steam traction in 1961.

The coming of the underground in 1926 brought an influx of new housing to the area with a subsequent dramatic increase in the local population. This did nothing to generate new passenger traffic as commuters now had a faster and more convenient route into central London. There was, however, an increase in goods traffic, especially during the construction of new housing when new sidings were provided to handle incoming building materials.

After the passenger service was suspended in 1939, the booking office remained open to sell tickets which could be used on the replacement bus service. The booking office closed on 14 April 1940 when ticket sales were transferred to the underground station.

The passenger service was never reinstated, but the station remained open for goods traffic, and the parcels office in the station building remained in use until the building was demolished in 1961. At that time steam traction was also withdrawn with diesels taking over for the final few years. The goods yard closed on 1 June 1964, and the track was lifted later that year.

Both the platform and the goods shed and cranes remained into the 1970s, with a scrap yard occupying the yard. The site was cleared some time after 1975, and during the 1980s any remaining evidence of the station was swept away during the construction of the Broadwalk shopping centre. Today the course of the line can be traced as it leaves the goods yard, but it is securely gated and is now used as a staff entrance to Edgware Underground depot.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FINCHLEY - EDGWARE LINE
The Edgware, Highgate & London Railway obtained an Act in 1862 to build an 8¾-mile line from a junction with the GNR at Seven Sisters Road (renamed Finsbury Park on 5 November 1869) to a terminus at Edgware.  The GNR agreed to work the line, providing staff and rolling stock in return for 50% of the gross receipts.

The following year, the Midland Railway received authority to build a line between Bedford and St Pancras which would provide a quicker route into central London from the Mill Hill area. To improve the prospects of their Edgware line, the EH & LR proposed a branch from Highgate to Muswell Hill serving the new Alexandra Palace leisure complex and an 6¾- mile extension of their main line from Edgware to Watford.

Both proposals were approved by Parliament in 1864, as was a further branch from Finchley to High Barnet in 1866.

The main line between Seven Sisters Road and Edgware proved more costly than expected with tunnelling required at Highgate and a high viaduct taking it over the Dollis Brook. The local company was soon in financial difficulty and, shortly before completion, the EH & LR was taken over by the Great Northern who opened the line on 22 August 1867
with intermediate stations at Crouch End, Highgate, East Finchley, Finchley & Hendon (renamed Finchley on 1 February 1872, Finchley [Church End] on 1 February 1894 and, finally, Finchley Central on 1 April 1940) and Mill Hill (renamed Mill Hill East for Mill Hill Barracks from 1 March 1928). 

Although Edgware was built as a through station with two platforms the extension to Watford was never built as the GNR were not convinced it would generate sufficient revenue.

The new line was double-track between Seven Sisters Road and Highgate and single-track beyond Highgate, with passing loops at Finchley & Hendon. It was assumed that the north end of the line would be doubled at a later date so some structures, including the viaduct over the Dollis Brook, were built to a width that would accommodate a second track.

There were 18 daily workings in each direction, although eight of these ran only between Seven Sisters Road and Highgate. 

The line was doubled between Highgate and East Finchley on 1 December 1867 and to Finchley & Hendon on 1 November 1869, prior to the opening of the High Barnet branch on 1 April 1872. To accommodate the extra traffic expected to be generated by this branch, Finchley & Hendon was rebuilt with an additional platform face which allowed services that had previously terminated at Highgate to be extended.

With the opening of High Barnet the service was improved, with 24 trains in each direction to central London.  The majority of these trains ran from High Barnet with only one through service in each direction between central London and Edgware, and a shuttle operating between Edgware and Finchley, where passengers for London had to change. 

The junction with the Edgware line made through running difficult as there was no direct connection between the down line and the original single track. It was reconfigured in June 1896 which allowed more through services to run to Edgware, but there were never more than six in each direction.

In an attempt to reduce running costs two GNR steam rail-motors, built to a design of H.A.Ivatt, were brought in to operate the shuttle service between Edgware and Finchley on 19 February 1906.  The rail-motors brought little improvement to passenger revenue with only an additional £9 in passenger receipts in March 1906 and earnings per car of 5d per

mile, while running costs were 7d.

In an attempt to generate additional income, a halt was opened at The Hale on 11 June 1906. It was conveniently sited close the Midland Railway's Mill Hill (today known as Mill Hill Broadway) station, enabling easy interchange. 

The rail-motors proved unpopular with passengers as they gave a rough ride with continuous vibration. Within a few months they were withdrawn and replaced with conventional steam traction. Rail-motors were once again tried in September 1929. This time a 59-seat Sentinel, The Rising Sun, was used, but it proved as unpopular as its predecessors and was withdrawn the following year.

In 1935 the London Passenger Transport Board announced their 'New Works Plan' which included a proposal to take over the ex-GNR line between Finsbury Park and Edgware / High Barnet and the Alexandra Palace branch. The plan included the doubling and electrification of the Edgware line with improvements to the stations including a second platform at Mill Hill East and The Hale.  The GNR station at Edgware would close to passengers with trains being diverted into the Underground station which
had opened on 18 August 1924 as the terminus of the second phase of the Underground Group's extension of the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway from Golders Green.  The ‘underground’ station – actually on the surface - would be enlarged and rebuilt as a through station with the line extended northwards to Bushey Heath, utilising part of the route of the EH & LR extension to Watford which had not been built. 
 

All of these lines would be incorporated into the Northern Line, and a new connection with the Northern City line at Finsbury Park would provide a fast and frequent service of electric trains into central London.

The New Works Plan was adopted, and work on the electrification and new infrastructure started alongside the steam service which continued to operate. On the Edgware line this was still largely a shuttle service with running intervals of between 30 and 50 minutes.  There was now only one through service departing from Edgware at 7.52 am.

Work on the electrification and track doubling started in 1938.  The service on the Edgware line was suspended on some Sundays, and on 3 July 1939 the existing Northern Line service was extended from Archway to East Finchley where it surfaced alongside the LNER line from Finsbury Park, just south of the station.  The service on the Edgware line was suspended completely from 11 September 1939 to allow the work to be completed. The stations remained open for the sale of tickets which could be used on replacement buses. The New Works Plan was expected to be completed with all lines open by spring 1941. All the new lines were shown as 'under construction' on LPTB pocket maps from 1938 onwards.

By the outbreak of war in 1939 work to integrate the Edgware line into the Northern Line was progressing well. A second track, complete with conductor rail, had been laid as far as The Hale, and a second platform had been built there. Lineside cabling had also been installed, and sub-stations built at Edgware and at Page Street (between Mill Hill and the Hale). At Edgware a plate girder bridge was built to carry northbound traffic over the Northern line and on towards Bushey Heath. The Northern Line station at Edgware had been remodelled to accommodate the additional service with new platforms partly built and a new signal box completed.

With the outbreak of war, some work continued north of Highgate on both the Edgware and High Barnet lines.  Most work stopped in September 1940 with the start of the Blitz, with the exception of the line between Finchley and Mill Hill East because of the strategic importance of nearby Inglis Barracks - home to the Middlesex Regiment.  Mill Hill East re-opened with

tube trains on 18 May 1941.  At the same time the replacement buses were withdrawn and were replaced by extending the existing 240 route from Mill Hill Broadway to Mill Hill East.

After 1941 the various unfinished Northern Line extensions were removed from subsequent Underground maps, although they reappeared between 1946 and 1949.

London Transport had every intention of completing their New Works after the war, hoping to finish the line between Mill Hill East and Edgware in 1948 with the extension to Bushey Heath being opened the following year. Despite these optimistic expectations no further work was undertaken, and in 1950 London Transport announced that that the route between Brockley Hill (north of Edgware) and Bushey Heath would not be built as it contravened Green Belt regulations. Without the line to Bushey Heath, it was felt that construction costs of completing the upgrade of the Finchley – Edgware line would not be recouped by expected traffic, so this too was dropped.

All of the uncompleted Northern Line extensions were officially abandoned in February 1954. This was quickly followed by the closure of the Alexandra Palace branch on 5 July 1954. As the service on the Edgware branch had already been suspended from 11 September 1939 it was never reinstated, and the stations remained closed to passenger traffic.

The second track between Mill Hill East and The Hale had been lifted in 1941, but the line remained open for freight traffic and remained steam-hauled until December 1961. After that date diesel traction was employed but this was to be short-lived. There was little traffic on the line, and the goods service was withdrawn from 1 June 1964; track-lifting started in

September 1964.

Despite closure of The Hale in 1939 the booking office at Mill Hill Broadway was still selling tickets from Mill Hill (The Hale) until the late 1960s. These were valid on the 240 bus and differed from ordinary Underground tickets by having the name underlined.

Click here for a light hearted film about the unfinished Northern Line extension.

Tickets from Brian Halford & Michael Stewart. Bradshaw from Chris Totty. B & W street map from Alan Young. Colour street map (above) from Chris Totty. Route map drawn by Alan Young.

Sources:

To see other stations on The Finchley - Edgware line click on the station name:
Mill Hill East & Mill Hill (The Hale)


Click here for a selection of trackside views along the Edgware branch

To see stations on the Finsbury Park - Alexandra Palace line click on the station name: Finsbury Park, Stroud Green, Crouch End, Highgate, Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill & Alexandra Palace


Edgware station forecourt c. 1905. The building on the right in the foreground is the weigh office which is at the entrance to the goods yard. The 13,500 gallon water tank is seen on the extreme right.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection



1874 1:2,500 OS map. This shows the station in its original form with two platforms. The up platform was taken out of use in 1872 and had probably already been demolished by the time this map was published. Another early causality was the timber engine shed and turntable which are seen to the north of the up platform. The shed closed in 1878 and was blown down in a blizzard in 1881. Note the wagon turntables near the end of all four sidings.

1914 1:2,500 OS map. The up platform has been removed leaving the up line as a run-round loop. The engine shed and turntable have also been removed and the siding shortened. The water tank and coaling stage are still shown on the north side of the siding. These remained in use until withdrawal of steam in 1961. One wagon turntable remains on the goods shed siding. One of the sidings in the coal yard has been removed. There are some new buildings and a crane to the west of the goods shed. Note the residential development on the west side of Church Lane (now Station Road).

1961 1:2,500 OS map. The station is now closed to passengers but the goods yard is still open. The layout of the yard has been drastically altered especially around the coal yard where new coal bins have been provided. The station building has now been demolished, and the former passenger lines have been cut back leaving just the east end of the platform intact. The water tank and its siding have also been removed. The Northern Line is now shown in the north-east corner. Church Lane has now been renamed Station Road (named after the Northern Line station rather than the GNR station). There has been further residential development to the south of the station.


One of the two GNR rail-motors brought in to operate the shuttle service from 19 February 1906. Both were built at Doncaster in 1905 to a design of H.A.Ivatt. The boiler, cab and footplate were built on a 4-wheeled power bogie, whilst the coal bunker was built on the coach frame. As well as the loco water tank, there were extra larger tanks located between the carriage and the underframe. The coach had a driving cab at the rear with communication to the engine by a bell. Also, there was a chain and pulley system along the roof of the carriage, to enable the driver to open and close the regulator. The rail-motors were not popular with passengers as they gave a rough ride, and they were moved elsewhere with a few months. No2 was withdrawn from service in 1926 and the engine unit condemned in 1927. The coach was converted, along with its twin from No1, to an articulated twin set and renumbered to 44151/2, composite brake diagram 217A in 1930. It ran like this until it suffered damage at Hatfield in 1937 and was withdrawn.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Edgware station in May 1914 after the siding in the foreground was shortened. There are no known photographs of the short-lived engine shed which stood at the end of the siding behind the water tank.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

A shuttle service bound for Finchley stands at Edgware station in 1924.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Edgware station looking west c. 1930s. The large goods shed is seen on the left.
Photo from John Mann collection

A passenger train stands at the east end of Edgware station in June 1937. The coaling stage is seen beneath the water tank on the left. 4649 was built in 1914 at Doncaster works and delivered new to Kings Cross shed in June carrying the GNR No 1649. This Gresley designed K2, 2-6-0 was renumbered to 4649 in October 1924 and again in 1946 to 1739 by the LNER. It received its final number in 1948 by BR, 61739, which it carried until withdrawal from 38A, Colwick shed on 27 June 1959, and was scrapped at Darlington works in the same year. When introduced, the Walschaert valve gear was unusual on GNR locos and the K2s acquired the nickname ‘Ragtimers’, also enhanced by being lively locos when
running at speed.
Copyright photo by H C Casserley

The main station building at Edgware in the 1950s. Although the passenger service was suspended in 1939 the station remained open for goods traffic. The parcels office was housed in this building until 1961 when it was demolished.
Photo from John Mann collection

69506 entered service in December 1920 having been built by the North British Locomotive Co. for the GNR. First numbered 1727 by the GNR, it received the number 4727 when it passed to the LNER and was renumbered again in 1946 to 9506. It received its final number in 1948 and lasted in service until May 1961 when it was withdrawn from 34E, New England shed and cut up at Doncaster works a month later. This Gresley designed N2, 0-6-2 passenger tank is seen hauling the Canonbury - Alexandra Palace – Edgware leg of the LCGB (London Branch), ‘Poplar & Edgware Railtourr’ on 5 May 1956.
Copyright photo by RM Casserley

By 1971 only the east end of the passenger platform survived. The west end of the platform and the station building were demolished when the office block,seen in the background, was built. At this time there was a scrap yard in the goods yard and the platform area was a convenient dump for old tyres.
Photo by Ian Baker

Looking east at the remaining section of platform in March 1975.
Photo by Nick Catford

Looking west at the site of Edgware station in July 2012. The platform is lost under the office block (Premier House) and the public car park behind it.
Photo by Nick Catford



 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]




Last updated: Thursday, 18-May-2017 10:15:08 BST
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