IMG 9139fi - Another Piccadilly Line Viaduct Mystery!

Another Piccadilly Line Viaduct Mystery!

Remember the Arnos Park viaduct mystery? How many arches did it actually have? Here’s another Arnos Park viaduct mystery. Well sort of – because the answer happens to be a massive balls up…

Let me explain. Arnos Grove station has an exhibition on its footbridge detailing the history and construction of the station and the Piccadilly’s extension to Southgate/Cockfosters. There’s one picture interests me. Its claimed to be Arnos Park viaduct. Is that really so? I took a close look at it last summer and its the wrong picture!

DSC 0396 - Another Piccadilly Line Viaduct Mystery!

Anyone glancing at the information panel in question would take their word its the viaduct at Arnos Grove. Its long and it curves.

But is it??? Nope. Not in a million years!

Yes its definitely Arnos Park viaduct!

Really? Take another look.

You sure its not?

No its most definitely not Arnos Park viaduct!

So what’s the viaduct in question then? Perhaps its Arnos south viaduct, you know, the one over the Bounds Green Brook?

No it’s none of the viaducts at Arnos Grove!

Oh really, where is this then?

Its Southgate Viaduct!

Whaaaat…! But they say“The image on the right shows men working on the construction of the elevated tracks between Arnos Grove station and Southgate station in April 1932.”

Correct. The viaduct between Arnos Grove and Southgate is Arnos Park viaduct. But the picture isnt of that particular viaduct! Look at it more closely….

IMG 4699detail - Another Piccadilly Line Viaduct Mystery!
The picture in question is actually Southgate Viaduct!

Houses in Winchmore Hill Road and Hillside Grove can clearly be seen as well as the substation itself. Those in Hillside can still be seen today as the next two pictures shows. Mayfair Terrace in Southgate had not been built at the time of the viaduct’s construction.

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Self explanatory picture showing the houses and substation from Southgate Viaduct

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The same houses in Hillside Grove with Southgate viaduct on the left. Source: Google Streets

The information board says to look at the LT museum site for more details. So I did…. Here’s a screencap of the relevant photograph on the LT archives below.

As the text says, the view looks south “towards the site of Arnos Grove underground station.” The problem is Arnos Park viaduct curves to the east if one is looking south. So its NOT Arnos Park – not even in a million years!

What is this “station building under construction?” They claim its Arnos Grove station. No! Its the substation in Park Road Southgate, under construction!

ltphoto - Another Piccadilly Line Viaduct Mystery!
Screencap of the erroneous photo and detail at the LT museum photo archives. Link

It seems LT (or TfL) cant recognise substations built in 1931-32 as part of the extension to Cockfosters! Its being claimed that the building under construction is Arnos Grove station. No its not! Its Park Road sub-station to the north of Southgate. If one wants to find the sub-station its right by the southern end of Southgate viaduct and just a few minutes walk from Southgate station.

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The ‘Arnos Grove station’ – actually the substation by Southgate viaduct – seen from a train

Who’s at fault for this? It seems the photographers of the time (Topical Press) may have slipped up, however it was instantly obvious to me it was Southgate viaduct. When I looked at the picture last summer I had wondered if someone was taking the piss making out it was Arnos Park viaduct.

Certainly both the LT museum and TfL should have sussed this picture was absolutely wrong. Its not even the one they claim on the information board or on the archival website. Southgate viaduct yes, Arnos Park viaduct no, never, nada!

I originally wrote this post as part of the series last year on the Piccadilly’s extension to Cockfosters. The delay was the question of verifying the picture in question with the LT museum’s photograph archives. The LT photo site has been in limbo (not working properly) as some of you will know, from about May of last year to earlier this year.

Better late than never I suppose 🙂

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