North London Line


July 5, 2022

The North London Line is a railway linking Richmond upon Thames to Stratford via North London (until 2007 North Woolwich). The line has the shape of an arc around the city center and crosses a large number of radial lines. The North London Line is used for freight and passenger services. Until 11 November 2007 passenger trains were operated by Silverlink. Since then they have been part of the London Overground network. Before the takeover by London Overground, the North London Line was the only regional rail line still shown on the London Underground map. Previously, the Northern City Line and part of the Thameslink were also marked on the map. In addition, the Waterloo & City Line already appeared on the map before it was integrated into the metro network.


The North London Line was created by merging two lines. The western part of the line, the North London Railway, ran from Richmond via Dalston to Broad Street (near Liverpool Street) and opened in 1869. In the east, a railway line from North Woolwich via Stratford to Palace Gates (later to Tottenham Halle). In 1979 a new service was established between North Woolwich and Camden Road under the name CrossTown LinkLine, filling the gap between Stratford and Dalston. The new route was not electrified and was therefore served by diesel trains. A transfer option to the District Line of the Underground was realized at West Ham. In the 1980s Broad Street station was closed and passenger service between Tottenham Hale and Stratford also ceased. In 1985 the North London Railway and the CrossTown LinkLine were merged. The connection between Dalston and Stratford was electrified for this.


For freight transport, the Stratford - Camden Junction section has been electrified with 25 kV by means of overhead wires. This is the only connection between the various 25 kV electrified rail networks around London. The line has four different power systems: Richmond - Gunnersbury: 750 V DC via a busbar (with an extra rail for the return current) on the Underground's system, which also uses this route (District Line) Gunnersbury - Acton Central: 750 V DC via busbar Acton Central - Camden Road: 25 kV AC with overhead lines Camden Road - Stratford: Double electrification: both 25 kV AC with overhead lines and 750 V DC with busbar. Between Camden Road and Dalston Kingsland the freight trains run on separate tracks with catenary only and the passenger trains on their own tracks with only power rails. With the commissioning of the new catenary platforms at Stratford, the busbars were removed between Dalston Kingsland and Stratford. Especially the combination of alternating and direct current is technically very difficult. This is because the current detection loops for protection are always opposite to the traction current used. When driving under alternating current, the detection loops are built with direct current. The detection loops must be electrically isolated from each other. The return of the catenary or busbar is carried away by the tramlines. The isolation can be done for either direct current or alternating current but not for both, because the return current on the tracks must be possible. High Speed ​​1 has a direct connection to the North London Line, allowing HSL (Eurostar) trains to continue to the West Coast Mainline, serving destinations such as Manchester.

New situation

At the end of 2007, the North London Line was transferred to Transport for London, the London city transport company. This makes it possible to integrate the line into the tariff system of the city network. The line is included in the London Overground operating concession granted to London Overg