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The Parkland Walk. There are few railway walks in London because the demand for land in the capital is such that the trackbed of any closed line is quickly claimed for new development. Despite this, a small number of disused railways in the city survive as railway walks, the longest of them being the so-called Parkland Walk which links Finsbury Park with Highgate and Alexandra Palace. On 8th October 2010, RR member Don Kennedy – well known in the club for his 'Lost Railways of London' walks – led a group along this line. Peter Nash was there to record the occasion photographically.

Above: Nature encroaches on the empty platforms of Crouch End station, while the low angle of the camera accentuates the size of this abandoned station. The line was built independently by the Edgware, Highgate & London Railway but, a month before it opened in 1867, was purchased by the Great Northern Railway which operated it as a branch off its main line from Kings Cross to Hitchin and the north. In 1935, great things were planned for this line, for in that year the London Passenger Transport Board announced its 'New Works Plan' which would have seen it (and the connecting Highgate to Alexandra Palace branch) become part of the London Underground network. However, World War 2 intervened and all work on the 'New Works' programme ceased in the early 1940s. 8th October 2011. (Peter Nash)

 

Above: Five months after the picture above was taken, all the leaves in the area had fallen, allowing this view of the distinctive brick arches which reinforce the side of the cutting near where Crouch End Hill (the A103) crosses over the old line. 8 February 2011. (Dudley Miles). Photograph used under the terms of the Wikimedia Commons licence. Source en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkland_Walk.

 
Left: Highgate High Level station was isolated between two sets of twin bore tunnels, Highgate East (139 yards) and the longer Highgate West (332 yards). This view shows the station's up platform, with the portal of the up west tunnel visible in the background. The gentleman in uniform on the left of the group is London Underground's Highgate station manager. 8th October 2010. (Peter Nash)

Final Services. Just west of Highgate High Level, the line reach Park Junction, where the short branch to Alexandra Palace swung round to the north west, while the 'main' line (part of today's Northern Line) continued on a north westerly bearing to Finchley Central. Highgate Depot was situated in the 'V' at Park Junction where the two lines diverged.

The last passenger trains between Alexandra Palace, Highgate and Finsbury Park ran on 3rd July 1954, although freight between Finchley Central and Finsbury Park continued until 1962. Empty coaching stock movements for the Northern Line ran between Highgate Depot and Finsbury Park until September 1970, but then the line was closed due to weak bridges on the route.

 
Above: The neat little brick-built station, seen in the right of the picture above, is now a private residence. 8th October 2010. (Peter Nash)
 
Left: The now closed station building on the high level platforms can be seen clearly across the station gardens as passengers approach the entrance of the modern Highgate station. This retains a service on the Northern Line's High Barnet branch. 8th October 2010. (Peter Nash)
 
Right: This view looking down on to the closed high level platforms shows the west end of the privately owned station building, plus the distinctive island platform and canopy, so typical of London Underground architecture generally. Highgate West Tunnels are out of view on the right of the picture. 8th October 2010. (Peter Nash)
 
Above: Highgate West Tunnels, with the down bore (for Park Junction then Finchley Central or Alexandra Palace) on the left, and the up bore (for Finsbury Park) on the right. These tunnels are on private land but can be viewed from the west end of the high level platform, subject to permission being obtained from London Underground Ltd. 8th October 2010. (Peter Nash)
 

Above: Between Highgate and Alexandra Palace, the highlight of the Parkland Walk is St. James' Lane Viaduct (between Cranley Gardens and Muswell Hill stations), seen here in late spring sunshine. The viaduct provides outstanding views of central London and accommodates many small business underneath its arches. 22nd May 2007. (Martin Addison) Photograph used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence. Source: www.geograph.org.uk.