What the newest London Underground line will be called

The new London Underground Northern line extension has now been open for more than a week. It means that the Northern line is one step closer to being split in two.

The new extension section is only connected to the Charing Cross branch, meaning Bank branch trains can only go to Morden. To run the most efficient service, Transport for London (TfL) is looking to segregate the northern part of the line in the same way the new extension effectively segregates the southern part.

To do this, a series of upgrades need to be completed at Camden Town which will untangle the line and allow for two separate lines to run: one from Edgware to Battersea Power Station via Charing Cross and another from High Barnet/Mill Hill East to Morden via Bank.

The question is, when the upgrades are finished and the two lines appear – just what do you call the ‘new’ one?

READ MORE:London Underground: Where trains go at night and what happens in the depots where they ‘sleep’

The Northern line currently has two different routes through Central London, the Bank branch and the Charing Cross branch. The next extension is only accessible to the Charing Cross branch

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So far, there are no clues from TfL which refers to a rather neutral ‘Northern line 2’ in documentation. There is almost no chance of the route being split into lines actually called ‘Northern line 1’ and a ‘Northern line 2’, it would be simply too confusing.

As for keeping the whole line intact as the Northern line, this would be similarly as confusing, although arguably the Northern line isn’t exactly simple right now.

The line between High Barnet/Mill Hill East and Morden would be the London Underground’s southernmost line, which means it could be branded the Southern line.

This seems a pragmatic solution although it may be avoided given that the train company ‘Southern’ operated in the same area. That scenario would be particularly odd for passengers at Balham station, who would change from Southern trains upstairs to Southern line trains downstairs.

The last time TfL split a line into two to make a new one was in 1990, when it split the Hammersmith and Barking branches off the Metropolitan line to form the Hammersmith & City line.

The East London branch was given a new colour on the Tube map and name although the line did have a partially-separate identity already. Should TfL want to go back to old habits, the ‘Edgware & City’ might be born. Note that part of the Northern line was first called the Edgware and Hampstead Railway when first opened.

The route maps aboard some Northern Line trains also now show the two new stops

The route maps aboard some Northern Line trains also now show the two new stops

The most likely outcome given recent trends is that the new line will be named after a Royal or something to do with the Royal Family.

Since 1968, we’ve had the Victoria then Jubilee then Elizabeth lines and with so many royals still in the line of succession, a populist pick is almost a given. Even relatively new modes such as the DLR and Overground are littered with references to London’s most famous residents.

Other suggestions includes Reddit’s most upvoted including Brunel or Holden line, after figures who have been influential to the Tube’s construction, the London Underground Society’s Ashfield line suggestion (seeing as West Ashfield is also set to go ) or Liney Mclineface which was banded about when Sadiq Khan proposed naming individual Overground lines.

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What would you call ‘Northern line 2’? Tell us in the comments below!

You can read all of MyLondon’s Tube-related features and news stories on our dedicated page here.

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