PALACE GATES - SEVEN SISTERS

 

Opened 1.1.1878 Seven Sisters - Noel Park & Wood Green; 7.10.1878 Noel Park & Wood Green - Palace Gates.
Closed to passengers) 7.1.1963
Closed to goods 28.12.1964


Stations
- Seven Sisters (opened 1872)
- West Green
- Green Lanes r/n 1884 Green Lanes & Noel Park r/n 1902 Noel Park & Wood Green
- Palace Gates.

Motive Power Depots Palace Gates two-track sub-shed too Stratford 30A (closed 1954)


History
The Muswell Railway's (GNR) branch and the Alexandra Palace itself opened on the same day in May 1873. The Great Eastern's line took another five years and only reached the palace gates, almost a mile from the sports and entertainment complex. Initially the service ran to Liverpool Street but nine years later this was supplemented by trains to North Woolwich. In 1910 there was a frequent service to/from Liverpool Street and eleven trains between Palace Gates and North Woolwich, covering 12_ miles in 45 mins. By 1930, however, North Woolwich was down to three, with two extra on Saturdays. Liverpool Street trains were withdrawn in 1947 but the situation to North Woowich improved dramatically after nationalisation with thirteen trains on weekdays; these were usually hauled by Class L1 2-6-4Ts. By 1963 the passenger service had been withdrawn and the line closed to all traffic at the end of 1964.

Route - when open
It diverged from the Liverpool Street - Enfield Town line at Seven Sisters station (GR337889) and turned west as it gradually dropped down passing under West Green Road and Belmont Road each side of West Green station. It then climbed up to Noel Park & Wood Green where it bridged High Road and Station Road then climbed steeply over Park Avenue to reach Palace Gates station (GR303906) in Dorset Road.
During World War ll a link was provided between Palace Gates and the ex-GNR Hertford Loop Line at Bowes Park. It was provided mainly for freight but it was also used by passenger trains from July 1944.

Route - today
Most of the line has been built over but the first half mile can easily be followed - Brunel Walk, Gresley Close and Station Crescent pointing the way. In Braemar Road there is now a recreation ground where the end of the embankment can be seen but the grassy cutting leading to Avenue Road is inaccessible. The cutting where West Green station was located has been infilled and built on whilst flats in Ivatt Way and allotments beyond occupy the alignment north of Belmont Road. A paved area goes under Westbury Avenue but more flats in The Sandlings have been built on the line almost to the Wood Green Shopping Centre - the site of Noel Park & Wood Green station. A semi-inaccessible embankment runs from Station Road to Park Avenue where steps lead up to a low embankment which runs to a block of flats. Flats then occupy the site of Palace Gates station; to the north the track is still in situ and operational - part of Bounds Green Depot.

Relics
Stations

- Seven Sisters still open (Liverpool Street - Enfield Town/Hertford East service)
- West Green demolished - a school and sports centre occupies the site
- Noel Park & Wood Green demolished - site built over by Wood Green Shopping Centre
- Palace Gates demolished - site occupied by a modern housing estate, platform edges could be seen behind Bounds Green carriage siding but were removed in 1999.

Bridges - underbridge at Seven Sisters in place;
bridge carrying Cornwall Road in place but bricked up;
bridge carrying West Green Road (A504), blue brick parapet survives;
twin-arched brick brIdge carrying Belmont Road in place;
bridge carrying Westbury Avenue (A1080) in place but rebuilt in 1990s;
girder bridge over High Road (A105) removed in 1960s
bridge carrying Station Road missing;
bridge carrying Park Avenue abutments survive;
Loco sheds - Palace Gates (GR302909) on east side of line at north end of station, demolished 1971 - site now occupied by Bounds Green HST depot.

 


For a map of the route, click here.

 

 


 

It's hard to see what the usefulness of this line was towards the end: Palace Gates was the furthest station from Alexandra Palace of the three with some reference to it in their names (even though one had already been closed by the time this line was earmarked for closure), the Piccadilly Line extension to Turnpike Lane and Wood Green claimed much of its traffic and toward the end of its operating life, only a rush hour service was provided. The other end of its service - North Woolwich - had seen most of its Thames docks lose their trade to new larger docks further east along the river.

 

 

 

View of the line as it veers off from the existing Seven Sisters overground station in a North-Easterly direction (left hand side of photo).

(Apr 2001)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A closer view of the truncated spur at Seven Sisters. For a page showing the platform disused but still in situ, click here.

(Apr 2001)

 

 

 


Under the bridge carrying Avenue Road. Facing east, back toward Seven Sisters.

(Jan 2007)

Photo: Philip Lindhurst. © 2007

 

 

 


Similar view from the one above but showing the bridge and its repairs.

(Jan 2007)

Photo: Philip Lindhurst. © 2007

 

 

 

 

 


The bricked up remains of the bridge carrying Cornwall Road. The enclosed space is now used as a storage facility.

(Jan 2007)

Photo: Philip Lindhurst. © 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

The remains of the coal office part of the station building at West Green Road, March 2001 (the passenger part was to the right of this).

Chris Hall informed that it was burnt out in June 2001. It was still there, albeit boarded up, in May 2002, but by August 2003 it had been demolished and replaced by a red-brick business site. Chris also made this interesting comment: "...although I'm sure the line could not have made much revenue because of its round about route, it - along with the Ally Pally branch - could have become light rail or tram routes had they survived long enough."

The track bed used to run under the road in the direction that the camera is facing but slightly to the right.

For a site showing the platform area before being levelled, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opposite the West Green Road station site is this wall. The track ran from left to right under the road, at an angle to the parapet - the house seen to the right of the photo is built on the in-filled line of the railway.

(July 2007)

Photo: Philip Lindhurst. © 2007

 

 

 


Heading toward the Palace Gates direction, this is the bridge over Belmont Road.

(Jan 2007)

Photo: Philip Lindhurst. © 2007

 

 

 


View under Belmont Road, with evidence of bridge repair work, facing north-west at the housing estate listed on maps now as Ivatt Way.

(Jan 2007)

Photo: Philip Lindhurst. © 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bridge at Belmont Road viewed from its northern end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

View eastwards from Westbury Avenue. Who would ever randomly pass this place now, not knowing of its history, and associate it with that of being an old railway?

(Feb 2004)

 

 

 

 

 

Eastward view of the bridge over Westbury Avenue (left) in the early 1980s, before the bridge reconstruction. Move your cursor over the image to see that same view in Feb 2004.

The opposite view, i.e. westward, from the position of the camera, would just show an ugly council estate built on the route of the line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noel Park station sign.

As of Oct 2005, this was on display in the marvellous North Woolwich Station Museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Park Avenue, N22, a stone's throw from the old terminus at Palace Gates. The bridge over the road has obviously gone but the dip that the road still takes under the missing bridge makes it abundantly clear that a railway used to cross over it (not to mention the still extant bridge abutments).

The section of track bed on the other side of the bridge leads to Station Road in Wood Green and is the only reasonable stretch of trackbed identifiable as such still remaining. It is perhaps surprising that it hasn't been developed into housing thus far.

(Mar 2003)

 

 

 

 

 

 

An original concrete post and an old rail that was missed by the scrap metal merchants.

(Mar 2003)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking towards the Wood Green direction in the early 1980s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palace Gates station looking north. A housing development stands on most of the platform area now.


For further photos of this station: www.disused-stations.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

The truncated north end of Palace Gates platform area (looking south at the housing development built on its site), still in use as a siding for the adjacent Bounds Green Depot. There are no platform remains as such, only the banked up soil and stone mix seen here.

(Feb 2005)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The north end of Palace Gates platform site looking north at the tracks leading up to the GNER lines. Bounds Green depot is on the left.

(Feb 2005)

 


 

 


 

LNWR

 

 

Photos taken between 1977 and 1981, except where stated.