The Metropolitan railway was only 3 years old when it was already expanding its operation between Moorgate and King’s Cross. In 1866 the two track line was widened to four with additional connections provided at King’s Cross and St. Pancras to the Midland and Great Northern Railways. This offered direct through travel on the appropriately named “Widened Lines” from the north right into the heart of the city.
This was always a part of the network I found fascinating, particularly when I was young. The intertwining tube and national rail lines burrowing under and over each other, breaking in and out of daylight as they scraped the surface of the city. The overhead lines, the unusual national rail rolling stock sharing underground space with tube trains, the victorian retaining walls, the 60’s functionality and the people bustling about their busy city lives. This was my vision of London and it all began at Moorgate.
Service pattens, destinations and formations changed throughout the years but the Widened Lines eventually played host to the brand new Thameslink suburban services from 1988. Moorgate’s impressive and spacious subterranean terminal accommodated four terminating and two through lines. Coupled with the Northern City Line terminus below, Moorgate thrived as an important commuter hub in the city.
Sadly these days Moorgate is a shadow of its former self. In 2013 terminating Thameslink services were withdrawn and diverted through an expanded facility at Farringdon. As a result Platforms 5 & 6 closed. They were briefly used as an exhibition space for the Tube’s 150th birthday, but they have since been boarded up – the space to be presumably used for Crossrail expansions. Change is no doubt a good thing but I will always remember Moorgate for what it was. London’s Forgotten Terminus.
Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk