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The Piccadilly line's eastern end lies at Cockfosters station in the north and from here the line runs through central London, and then splits into two branches which head towards Heathrow Airport and Uxbridge. The line first opened in 1906 as the Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway, which ran between Hammersmith and Finsbury Park stations, with the northern terminus being incorporated into the Northern City line1 deep-level station there. In 1907, the infamous short branch to Aldwych from Holborn station opened, but despite plans to extend this line to Waterloo, the station remained on a dead end and quickly became a shuttle service.
In 1910, the line became part of the London Electric Railway and from 1928 onwards many improvements were made to the existing stations. Work to extend the line began at the start of the 1930s and the following sections have since opened:
1932 - Extension of the line alongside District line tracks from Hammersmith to Acton Town and then onto the District line tracks to South Harrow to relieve congestion, along with a newly built continuation of the tunnel from Finsbury Park to Arnos Grove, where the line starts to run overground.
1933 - Construction of an extra pair of tracks alongside the District line tracks from Acton Town to Northfields to allow the Piccadilly line to run onto the District line tracks to Hounslow West, along with further extension along the District line from South Harrow to join the Metropolitan line on its way to Uxbridge. At the same time the line from Arnos Grove was extended to pass under Southgate and eventually reach Cockfosters. All of the stations on the extension between Cockfosters and Finsbury Park have surface buildings designed by architect Charles Holden with the exception of Manor House, which is a simple subway.
1977 - Extension of the line from Hounslow to terminate at Heathrow Central station.
1984 - Opening of the Heathrow Loop, with Heathrow Central being renamed as 'Terminals 1,2,3'.
2005 - Beginning of work to build an new extension from Heathrow Terminal 4 to a new station to serve Heathrow Terminal 5.
This station forms the northern terminus of the Piccadilly line, with four open air platforms serving three tracks. Since all trains departing the terminus leave in the same southbound direction, Cockfosters still has an old backlit sign indicating which platform to go to for the next train to leave2. The station has a large car park next to one of the entrances, and with the presence of the M25 just three miles away this makes the station popular with football fans travelling to Arsenal station. There is also a ticket booth, toilets, payphones and a shoe mender's shop. The station is situated above ground on the busy Cockfosters Road (A111), and a subway under the road gives safe access to the other side. All entrances are via a flight of steps. The district of Cockfosters probably got its name from the resident of the Chief Forester (Cock Foster) of Enfield Chase.
Oakwood station lies entirely above ground at the corner of Bramley Road (A110) and Chase Road. Oakwood is named after Oakwood Park, although it was originally known as Enfield West, being renamed Enfield West (Oakwood) in 1934 and finally Oakwood in 1946. The station has a rather airy ticket hall which lies inside a large building next to the local shops, and has a car park, toilets and payphones. Cockfosters depot, one of two depots serving the Piccadilly line, lies between Cockfosters and Oakwood.
This station lies on an underground section of the line between the two surface stations Oakwood and Arnos Grove, with the line diving underground just to the north so close to the station that the end of the tunnel can be seen from the platforms. Access to the platforms is by escalator. The large circular surface building of the station lies next to a roundabout on the A111 and is a listed building with one entrance and one exit. As the station was originally meant to act as an interchange between the tube and local buses, it has no car park or taxi rank. Southgate is named after the hamlet that grew up around the south gate of Enfield Chase.
A station above ground on the Piccadilly line where some northbound trains terminate to the great irritation of those travelling to Cockfosters, although trains which continue north from here use the adjacent platform to those terminating. There are therefore four platforms serving three tracks at the station, with platforms 1 and 2 serving northbound trains while platforms 3 and 4 serve southbound trains. The station is a listed building, with a circular Art Deco ticket hall that is one of the finest pieces of transport architecture ever built. Parking is available next to the station, which lies just off the A1110. The station gets its name from the family of Margery Arnold, a 14th century family. The station backs onto Arnos Park, but was originally to be called Bowes Road.
This station lies underground, with a surface building on the A109 and is a short distance from Bowes Park overground station. A large rectangular chimney sits atop the ticket hall, which contains a small shop and leads to the bank of escalators which lead down to the platforms. There are several bus stops near the station, but services running in the same direction as the nearby overground service tend to be relatively sparse. Palmers Green is a 20-minute walk from the station via the North Circular, and this is cheaper and occasionally quicker than going by train. Bounds Green station was partially destroyed by a bomb in 1940 and a memorial plaque can be found at the north end of the southbound platform. Bounds Green itself is named after the 13th century families of John le Bonde and Walter Le Bounde.
Wood Green station lies on the northwest side of the junction between Lordship Lane and High Road, just north of a large bus depot. The station layout is pleasantly simple, with a bank of escalators leading down to the island platforms. There are a handful pubs and cinemas nearby, and the shopping area extends from the Shopping City centre just south of the tube station all of the way to Turnpike Lane. Wood Green station is a ten minute walk along Station Road from Alexandra Palace overground station, which was also called Wood Green until it was renamed in 1984. The district of Wood Green grew out of a hamlet called Wodegrene that grew up at the side of Enfield Chase.
This station lies at the junction of Green Lanes, Turnpike Lane and Westbury Avenue. Turnpike lane is named after the turnpike gate that was erected at Hornsey Lane (now Tottenham Lane) in 1767 by the Stamford Hill and Green Lanes Turnpike Trust. There is a bus station at the back of the station building, but access to the tube is via steps on the north side of the complex. There is also a triangular subway under the crossroads next to the station, providing additional entrances to the station on the northwest and southwest sides. The ticket office lies partially below ground, with a bank of escalators leading straight down to the island platforms.
Out of all the stations on the Piccadilly Line Northern Extension designed by Charles Holden in the 1930s, Manor House is unique because it doesn't have a proper station building at street level - the station concourse is buried under the crossroads where Green Lanes crosses Seven Sisters Road. This means that, unlike all the other Northern Extension stations (those north of Finsbury Park which were built in the 1930s), Manor House is completely devoid of any architectural merit. It's a simple station, but has a number of entrances leading to the central concourse, which also contains a newsagent, and from there three escalators lead down to the twin platforms. Manor House is named after the 19th Century pub built at the crossroads, which was originally known as Manor Tavern, but took on its current name when the original manor house was knocked down. The pub still exists, but was closed down around the turn of the 21st Century, with the ground floor being converted to a supermarket and cafe.
Those planning to visit the park at Finsbury Park are better off alighting at Manor House, as the Manor House Gate entrance is right next to the tube station and is a lot closer to the park's amenities3. However, when open-air gigs are held in the park, the entrance used is the Finsbury Park gate. The first section of the Victoria Line was built between Finsbury Park and Manor House, but after testing was complete and the rest of the line built, it was decided not to open a set of Victoria line platforms at Manor House.
Manor House used to have connections with the local tram routes to Edmonton, Stamford Hill and Tottenham and the tube station featured extra exits to the island tram stops on Seven Sisters Road until the 1950s. Although it now lacks any direct interchanges, Manor House lies a short bus ride along Green Lanes from Haringey Green Lanes station on the Silverlink North London line. There is also a wagn line station at Harringay a little way west of the Silverlink station, but a much more convenient interchange to wagn from the tube is available at Finsbury Park.
See the Victoria line section of this guide, and also second paragraph of the Manor House section above.
This station was previously known as Gillespie Road, but was renamed Arsenal (Highbury Hill) when Arsenal football club moved to Highbury. It is now the only tube station named after a football club4. The station building used to feature the red Edwardian tiling of Leslie Green until it was rebuilt in the 1930s to widen the entrance, originally the width of just two of the neighbouring terraced houses.
The station lies just west of the North Bank of Highbury, and just north of the new stadium at Ashburton Grove and now features a mural commemorating Arsenal's 93 years at Highbury. The station is normally quiet and is usually only busy on match days and the main walkway features a separate section which is barred off to allow people to go against the flow of the football crowd. Note that the station lies east of the train line between King's Cross and Finsbury Park and therefore those wishing to visit the nearby Seven Sisters road should use Holloway Road or Finsbury Park, as walking from Arsenal would take you past one of these stations anyway.
This station lies just southeast of the railway bridge on one side of the busy Holloway Road, connecting to the low-lying hamlets that sit between Highgate and Islington. The platforms are reached by either lifts or a comparatively short emergency staircase. Although it lies in close proximity to the site of Arsenal Football Club's new ground at Ashburton Grove, the station will be closed on matchdays to prevent excessive congestion. As with its neighbours, the station features the red Edwardian terracotta tiling of Leslie Green, as well as its own unique platform tiling.
This station lies a little way north of Caledonian Road & Barnsbury railway station, and is just south of the bridge over the railway lines from King's Cross station. The surrounding area consists of housing and wholesale businesses. The surface building features a backlit Underground sign and the red Edwardian tiling of Leslie Green, with access to the platforms either by lift or a medium length spiral staircase. Caledonian Road itself is named after the Caledonian Asylum, which used to provide care for Scottish children.
This station is now closed - see Abandoned Lines and Stations.
King's Cross St Pancras
See the Victoria line section of this guide.
The emergency spiral staircase here is almost as long as the one at nearby Goodge Street station, but lifts are also available. Unlike most stations between Cockfosters and Earl's Court, Russell Square has platforms on either side the lines5, so the doors open on the other side here. The station features the red Edwardian tiling of Leslie Green, and is located near to the northeast corner of Russell Square, the second largest square in London, which is named after the family name of the Dukes of Bedford. The station is within walking distance of both University College London and the University of London Union. On 7, July, 2005, a terrorist bomb exploded on a train heading southbound from King's Cross towards Russell Square.
A simple station with three levels and no ticket barriers between lines. An escalator runs down from the entrance to a junction in the walkways, with a walkway to the Central line heading off in one direction. This walkway was built to provide an underground link to the Central line platforms at Holborn which replaced those at the disused British Museum station6, and so the Central line platforms feature Egyptian murals. Another escalator leads downwards in the other direction towards the Piccadilly Line. As with the streets and pavements in the surrounding area, the station is very busy during rush hour, and it is often difficult to get onto the tube let alone get a seat at these times. This is partly due to the fact that the station is the first 'major' stop on the Central line heading westwards - before Holborn there is usually a net flow of people onto the train. The station features a large disused section, with the two platforms which used to serve the Aldwych branch having been used as air raid shelters, offices and archives at various stages since their closure.
The station lies on the junction between High Holborn and Kingsway, and is therefore a little way north of the Strand Underpass. This was built inside the Kingsway Underpass which used to contain Aldwych and Holborn tram stations, which are both separate entities to the tube stations of the same names. The Holborn area is named after the stretch of the river Fleet that runs in the hollow that is now spanned by Holborn Viaduct.
This station is now closed - see Abandoned Lines and Stations.
This station lies on the pedestrianised James Street and there used to be no entrance to the station during busy periods at weekends, although this is no longer the case. Instead the public are strongly advised to walk from nearby stations, and there are maps and directions to Covent Garden at both Holborn and Leicester Square stations, the latter being only 300 yards away. Despite this advice, the most popular tourist journey on the Underground is between Covent Garden and Leicester Square. Access to the platforms is via lifts or spiral staircase, and the station facade still retains its original red Edwardian tiling. The station is rumoured to have its own resident ghost. Covent Garden station is obviously named after the local market, which was originally the walled garden of Westminster Abbey, then known as the Convent Garden.
The line then heads westwards - see Piccadilly Line: West of Leicester Square.