The Anonymous Widower

Is Caledonian Road And Barnsbury An Ideal Four-Track Station?

This Google Map shows Caledonian Road And Barnsbury station.

Note the island platform, with two tracks on either side.

These four pictures show each pair of tracks in both directions.

And these pictures show general views of the station.

I don’t know the layout of every station, but Caledonian Road And Barnsbury seems to be unusual.

  • There is a spacious island platform in the middle of the four tracks.
  • On either side of the island platform, there are the two lines for local passenger trains.
  • Outside of the two local passenger lines, there are two lines for freight trains.
  • Access to the island platform is via a simple half-bridge with only two lifts.
  • Everybody enters the station from one side.

Does this layout have advantages?

Ease Of Construction

I think that this station was designed, so that it was quick and easy to build.

Once the tracks are aligned correctly, it shouldn’t be too complicated to build.

The bridge only has to span two tracks, so that must be half the work of crossing four tracks.

Passenger Safety

I have used real time trains to check the platform of freight trains passing through Caledonian Road And Barnsbury station.

It seems that only rarely do trains use the tracks in the two platforms.

This must surely be safer, when compared with the standard arrangement.

These pictures were taken at Highbury & Islington station.

The wide platform, also allows passengers to keep well out of the way of any trains that do pass through.

Would The Layout Work With High Speed Trains?

I don’t see why not!

The space between the outside lines and the platform, almost acts like a moat in a zoo, that keeps visitors away from dangerous animals.


It was probably not an expensive station to build.


Why are other four-track stations not built like this?

The main reason is probably, that most four-track main lines were laid out decades or even centuries ago and their builders used their own layouts.

June 19, 2021 - Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,


  1. […] Caledonian Road And Barnsbury An Ideal Four-Track Station?, I discuss the design of Caledonian Road and Barnsbury […]

    Pingback by Will Camden Road Station Get a Third Platform? « The Anonymous Widower | June 19, 2021 | Reply

  2. Honestly, I could see a fantastic option being to have a short 2 station extension of the ELL run up through here to Camden Road and using the 4 platforms there, with the current pair acting like the ELL platforms at Highbury do now.

    Would certainly ease the crowding on that section and make H&I less of a nightmare at busy times.

    Comment by angelmoon117 | June 19, 2021 | Reply

    • The original plan for the ELL did envisage some trains running through to Willesden.

      With improvements to Westbourne Road junction to the West of Highbury and Islington station this might be possible and they could use the central turnback platform at Willesden Junction low level station.

      Running through to Willesden would give access to another Underground line and it should be remembered that the busy Overground interchanges are Highbury and Islington, Blackhorse Road, Whitechapel, Canada Water and West Hampstead. All connect to the Underground.
      When Crossrail opens at Whitechapel it could ease the pressure.

      Comment by AnonW | June 19, 2021 | Reply

      • Very true. Ideally I’d widen the viaduct to 4 tracks for the 200m west of Camden Road and keep the ELL segregated completely from NLL services. It’s extremely preferable for resilience to do so, especially as all the junctions on the DC lines with major traffic flows west of that are grade separated. I’d be tempted to cut the Bakerloo back to Queens Park aswell and keep it completely LO to Watford to keep the high frequency time table going, but depot space becomes a problem unless you do something very drastic to Queens Park depot.

        Comment by angelmoon117 | June 20, 2021

  3. I do wonder how much use the track nearest to the entrance gets given its on the opposite side to the pair of freight train tracks that are on the north side of the passenger tracks east of this station through H&I and Canonbury Stations.

    I reckon extension of the East London Line through here with reconstruction of Camden Road station to reinstate the two missing platforms and maybe even longer term extension of this service via the closed route through the former Parliament Hill Station ( reopen.?) could be possible with service ending at Willesden Junction low level platforms.

    There were plans to link HS1 to HS2 via this route but the cost run into hundreds of millions and only provided a single track link meaning that if it was successful the money would have been spent only for more money needed for another option!

    Comment by Melvyn | June 19, 2021 | Reply

    • I’m sorry, but you’ve misunderstood what I’ve said.

      There are two tracks either side of the central island platform. Those to the North of the island go East and those to the South of the island go West. Only the track nearest the platform carries the Overground trains, and most freight but not all seems to take the outer tracks.

      Comment by AnonW | June 19, 2021 | Reply

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