85 years of the tube beyond Finsbury Park #2

IMG 0287fi - 85 years of the tube beyond Finsbury Park #2

In the first part of this series I looked at the new extension and its five stations north of Finsbury park, namely Manor House, Turnpike Lane, Wood Green, Bounds Green and Arnos Grove, these opened on 19th September 1932.
The next section to open was north to Enfield West, a station now known as Oakwood, on 13 March 1933, and then five months later the final section to Cockfosters was opened, the date being 19 July 1933.
IMG 0287a - 85 years of the tube beyond Finsbury Park #2
Oakwod station building and shopping parade from the west.
In this second part of the series, we look at Southgate, Oakwood, Cockfosters, not as part of any particular anniversary, but simply as a continuation of the section northwards from Arnos Grove. Additionally there are extra features that cover aspects of the line like its buildings, gradients, maps, viaducts and so on.
The official title for the new line was the Southgate Extension as the map below shows. I assume that name was carried over from the original plans for a terminus at Arnos Grove (aka Southgate.) At no time was it ever called the Cockfosters extension though I use that title for this LondonBlog series.
1932map - 85 years of the tube beyond Finsbury Park #2
1932 map showing the new as yet unopened line north of Arnos Grove.
The distances on the map: Southgate 1.22 miles, Enfield West (Oakwood) 1.16 m and Cockfosters 0.88 m.
Under the original plans the terminus and depot were to be at Arnos Grove. This was ultimately deemed an unsuitable location for the line’s new depot and so the route had to be continued to a location that would fit in with the tube’s requirements.
It doesn’t mean the project was built in two stages it was constructed in one (with phased openings) once the plans had been finalised, with Cockfosters being the agreed terminus. The original Arnos Grove terminus and depot plan were ditched well before the final plans was agreed about 1929.
IMG 2233 - 85 years of the tube beyond Finsbury Park #2
The huge viaduct through Arnos Park.
If the line had ended at Arnos Grove as originally intended, things would have been fairly easy in terms of construction. The need to take it further northwards presented huge problems in terms of the very hilly nature of the route beyond Arnos Grove. It was a very expensive piece of line with additional tunnels, long viaducts and cuttings.
Frank Pick claimed the new section of line from Arnos Grove northwards would be cheaper and easier to build. He told an inquiry the costs would be one fifth of that of building the section of tube from Finsbury Park to Tewksbury Road, Bounds Green. I am not sure what to think of that because the route from the end of the tunnels included very expensive infrastructure such as viaducts (four in all,) substantial overbridges, and a further section of tunnel through Southgate. On top of that land and houses had to be bought for the overground section.


Perhaps the important factor was the Underground were not paying for their extension. The Government was.  The Development (Loan Guarantees and Grants) Act 1929 enabled the extension to be built, and was a means of encouraging employment and construction at a time of depression.
The billboards at the then unbuilt sites at Arnos Grove and Oakwood extolled this fact (see tweets below) the line was being built to alleviate unemployment under the prescribed act.


Had it not been for this further extension, we would never have had the massive Arnos Park viaduct, the futuristic Southgate station, the lesser but still imposing Southgate viaduct, and the huge depot between Oakwood and Cockfosters.
IMG 0436 - 85 years of the tube beyond Finsbury Park #2
Southgate’s station building – one of the most iconic structures ever built in the UK.


The train depot at Oakwood is officially Cockfosters depot, although myself and both ASLEF and the RMT refer to it as Oakwood depot. Its just a matter of personal preference. The correct denomination doesn’t really matter as the depot is tied to both Oakwood and Cockfosters.
Next: Southgate

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