(Image: David Martin; abandoned Highgate High Level station)
There’s something about empty, disused train platforms that manages to be both creepy and moving, all at once. The abandoned Highgate High Level station has both of these aspects in spades. Once a traditional railway line that was intended to be incorporated into the London Underground, it was quietly ditched in the 1950s and left to go to ruin.
(Image: Christopher Hilton; the redundant tunnel portals)
Fast forward six decades, and the remains of the station are now a ghostly wreck, a haunting, empty space hiding in plain sight.
(Image: Wikipedia; Highgate High Level station in about 1870)
Highgate High Level station had been built for the steam locomotives of the Great Northern Railway and opened in August 1867, carrying trains from Kings Cross to High Barnet and Alexandra Palace, via Finsbury Park. It later came under the control of the mighty LNER, but was abandoned in 1972. The current central island platform stemmed from an 1880s remodelling, with the above photograph showing the original configuration. The Northern Line’s Highgate tube station remains operational beneath the derelict surface-level platform.
(Image: Hywel Williams; Highgate’s abandoned island platform)
On a purely visual level, the ruins of this station are some of the most quietly-melancholy images we’ve yet seen. The platforms are covered with grasses and vegetation, their concrete bulk disappearing into a haze of nature. The walls still hold the outlines of old London Underground signs that were briefly hung before being taken down only a few years later.
The air is heavy with the sense of lost time and bygone lives; all the people who once shuffled across this now-deserted platform, on their way to work, to the bank, to the pub, to meet with friends…
(Image: Sunil060902; Highgate tube station with derelict High Level platform above)
Yet this poignancy is tempered by a subtle feeling of creepiness, hidden in the background. It’s occasionally reported that locals still hear the rumble of ghostly trains passing through the forgotten station. Highgate High Level station itself may have folded long ago. But it seems the memories of the past still haunt its abandoned platforms.