Finchley Central is a London Underground station in the Church End area of Finchley, north London. The station is on the High Barnet branch of the Northern line, between West Finchley and East Finchley stations, and is the junction for the short branch to Mill Hill East station. The station is in Travelcard Zone 4.
The station was opened on 22 August 1867 as Finchley & Hendon as part of the Great Northern Railway's line between Finsbury Park and Edgware stations. As part of London Underground's Northern Heights plan, Northern line trains started serving the station in 1940 and main line passenger services ended in 1941.
Finchley Central station was built by the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway (EH&LR) on its line from Finsbury Park to Edgware station. Before the line was opened it was purchased in July 1867 by the larger Great Northern Railway (GNR), whose main line from King's Cross ran through Finsbury Park on its way to Potters Bar and the north.
The station, originally named Finchley and Hendon, opened along with the railway to Edgware on 22 August 1867 in what was then rural Middlesex. It was 7 miles 29 chains (11.8 km) from the GNR terminus at King's Cross. A branch line to High Barnet was constructed by the GNR and opened on 1 April 1872. The station was renamed by the GNR twice: to Finchley on 1 February 1872 and Finchley (Church End) on 1 February 1894. It was given its current name on 1 April 1940. After the 1921 Railways Act created the Big Four railway companies, the GNR became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1923.
In 1935, the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) announced a proposal, which became known as the Northern Heights project, to take over the LNER lines from Finsbury Park to Edgware, High Barnet and Alexandra Palace, and link them to both the Northern line at East Finchley and to the Northern City line at Finsbury Park. The line from Finchley Central to Edgware closed for electrification and reconstruction on 11 September 1939.
The station was first served by electric Northern line trains on 14 April 1940 when the service was extended from East Finchley to High Barnet. After a period where the station was serviced by both operators, LNER steam services were ended on 2 March 1941. Following the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, completion of the electrification works on the line to Edgware was slowed and was completed only as far as Mill Hill East. Northern line services to Mill Hill East began on 18 May 1941 to serve the nearby Inglis Barracks.
After the war, plans to complete the Northern Heights project were reviewed but no work was carried out. Maintenance works and reconstruction of war damage on the existing network had the greatest call on London Underground funds. Funds for new works were severely limited and priority was given to the completion of the western and eastern extensions of the Central line to West Ruislip, Epping and Hainault. Despite being shown as under construction on underground maps as late as 1950, work never restarted on the unimplemented parts of the Northern Heights project.
British Rail (the successor to the LNER) freight trains continued to serve the station's goods yard until 1962, when it was closed.
Charles Holden and Reginald Uren designed replacement buildings for the station to be built on both sides of the road bridge at the north end of the station, but the curtailment of the Northern Heights Plan means that this was not implemented and the station still retains much of its original Victorian architectural character today. As one of two EH&LR stations retaining its original buildings (with Mill Hill East), it is one of the oldest parts of the Underground system, pre-dating the first tunnelled section of the Northern line (the City & South London Railway) by more than twenty years.
The station has two entrances. The main one, on the north side of the tracks, is from Chaville Way, an access road from the junction of Ballards Lane, Regents Park Road and Nether Street. The second entrance is to the south of the tracks in Station Road. The two entrances are joined by a footbridge over the tracks from which stairs and lifts connect to the platforms. The station is accessible for disabled passengers in both directions. The station contains a car park, toilets, payphones, ticket machines and an ultrafast Wifi service.
The station has three platforms. Platforms 1 and 2, which share an island platform, are for northbound trains: platform 1 is used mainly by trains terminating at Finchley Central (and trains reverse using a headshunt) or going to Mill Hill East; platform 2 is mainly used by trains going to High Barnet. Platform 3, a side platform, is for southbound trains. All platforms have canopies at the northern end of the platforms and digital departure boards are also in place (as seen in the first picture).
The station is in Travelcard Zone 4, between West Finchley and East Finchley. Train frequencies vary throughout the day, but generally operate every 3–7 minutes between 05:44 and 01:05 northbound to West Finchley and 05:31 and 00:59 southbound (as of 2015). Trains to Mill Hill East operate between 05:35 and 01:06.
London Bus routes 82, 125, 143, 326, 382 and 460, night routes N13 and N20, and school routes 626 and 683 serve the station. Bus route 82 starts at North Finchley and ends at Victoria while route 125 goes from Finchley Central St. Mary's Church to Winchmore Hill. Bus routes 143 and 326 start from Brent Cross shopping centre and ends at Archway and Barnet (The Spires) respectively. Bus route 382 runs from Milbrook Park to Southgate while route 460 begins at North Finchley and terminates at Willesden. Night route N13 stretches from Aldwych to North Finchley while route N20 starts at Barnet Church and ends at Trafalgar Square. School route 626 starts here and terminates at Dame Alice Owen's School whereas route 683 goes from Friern Barnet to Kingsbury.