A railway historian and TfL employee has launched a petition to reopen the railway line to Highgate, now known as Parkland Walk.

Nathaniel Dodd, who lives in Essex, wants the line from Finsbury Park to Edward to be reopened and added to Transport for London’s network.

But Friends of Parkland Walk said the nature reserve between Finsbury Park and Highgate “provides immense pleasure for a huge number of people”.

The line was closed by British Rail to passengers in 1954.

Nathaniel said: “The route would reduce road congestion and pollution and there's a large volume of alternative green areas that public can still have access to.”

He said it would reduce the demand for buses, and added: “You'd still have access to over Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace park."

Part of the route has been developed for housing, but he said tunnelling expertise gained through the Elizabeth Line project could be used.

"The line would provide an interchange with the Midlands mainline at the Mill Hill (The Hale), the Northern Line, the Overground and East Coast mainline and Great Northern services at Finsbury Park. I'd say it ticks the boxes of economical social responsibility for those who aren't as mobile," he said.

Simon Olley, vice chair of Friends of the Parkland Walk, said there has always been a small group of people drawn to this idea.

"It’s wrong to suggest that the nature reserve would be protected,” he said. “Most of it would be destroyed and nearly all the trees felled both during any construction programme and subsequently to prevent damage by falling trees or delays caused by leaves on the line."

He said the reserve, part of the Capital Ring Walk, attracts visitors from around the world and that at peak times more than 600 people have been counted passing through it in an hour.

"It provides immense pleasure for a huge number of people, young and old and creates a walk that links a number of ancient woodlands and parks," he said.

"That is very much part of it’s great charm and appeal. Many children use it as part of their route to school and many schools visit it for nature studies. Those who use the Parkland Walk do so because it is a space like no other."

TfL was approached for comment.

So far 52 people have signed the petition.