The man who wants to put trains among the trees from Muswell Hill to Highgate

Floc pods in the canopy

An artist's impression of Urban.Mass's Floc transit system - Credit: Urban.Mass

A new form of light transit system could be used to connect Muswell Hill and Highgate, according to one former resident.  

John Emanuel, chief technology officer at urban transit company Urban.Mass, believes that Muswell Hill suffers from isolation and limited public transport options.  

He said: “I used to live in Muswell Hill, and it’s a very nice place to live, apart from the fact it’s hell to get in and out of, especially in the rush hour. The connectivity is really bad.   

“There’s a roundabout, the buses will eventually take you up to Highgate to the tube, but as far as public transport is concerned it’s really bad.”  

John says the answer could be his company’s Floc Duo Rail transit system, which it describes as ushering in “a new era in urban mass mobility”.  

John Emanuel, Director and Chief Technology Officer, Urban.Mass Ltd (1)

John Emanuel, director and chief technology officer, Urban.Mass - Credit: Urban.Mass

Rather than large trainlines, John thinks Urban.Mass's elevated, discrete lines, using electric pods to transport passengers, would be a better fit.  

The precise route would require a study, but he envisages it following the old disused railway track from Ally Pally to Highgate, with stops at Ally Pally, Muswell Hill, St James’s Lane, Cranley Gardens and Highgate.  

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John added: “To connect Muswell Hill to the tube at Highgate, without much damage to the Parkland Walk, should be entirely feasible and economic.  

“In my view, better connectivity would immensely enhance the quality of life in the area and make it even more desirable as a place to live.”  

The company says it is in talks with cities such as Bristol and Liverpool about building urban transit systems, though it is yet to approach Haringey Council or TfL. 

Its prototype is being worked on now at the National Railway Museum, to be completed in 2024.  

The big opening however will be in 2025, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the first paying passenger train journey, which went from the museum site.  

As well as showcase the transit system to city planners, the prototype will also provide a transport link from one end of the site to the other, clocking up a distance of just under 1km. 

A Railway Transport Museum spokesperson said: “This project will see a new form of technology potentially taking place at a site associated with the beginnings of railway technology, 200 years ago.  

“We’re interested in helping to showcase new rail innovations, alongside the famous vehicles and objects from the past.”