Transport for London has today (20 September) opened the doors to its two new Tube stations making up the Northern Line Extension, at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. The two step-free Zone 1 stations are set to dramatically improve the connectivity of these vibrant south London neighbourhoods and support the capital’s recovery from the pandemic at a vital time.
The Northern Line Extension is the first major Tube extension this century and is supporting around 25,000 new jobs and more than 20,000 new homes. In addition, construction of the extension boosted the UK economy and supported around 1,000 jobs, including 79 apprenticeships.
Major construction on the 3km twin-tunnel railway between Kennington and Battersea Power Station, via Nine Elms, began in 2015. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the construction project stayed on track for an autumn opening.
Tube services started running on the extension, which is on the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line, at 05:28 this morning. In addition, the Battersea Power Station Community Choir sang at the new station at Battersea this morning to mark its opening day.
A peak-time service of six trains per hour operates on the extension and this will increase to 12 trains per hour by mid-2022 as more people move into new housing in the area and the demand increases. There are five trains per hour during off-peak times, with this set to double to 10 trains per hour next year.
TfL has delivered the Northern Line Extension £160m under budget, bringing its estimated final total cost to £1.1bn, despite the cost pressures brought about by the pandemic. The spending authority budget was increased to £1.26bn in January 2016, but TfL says it has worked hard through strong collaboration with suppliers to ensure the project provides value for money.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “After years of hard work, I’m delighted that we’re able to open the Northern Line Extension today and it was great to have the chance to travel on one of the first trains between Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. This extension will hugely improve the links between these vibrant, growing south London neighbourhoods and the rest of the capital, and will also help to support thousands of new jobs and homes as we move forward with London’s recovery from the pandemic. The new stations are beautiful and I encourage Londoners and visitors to start using the Northern Line Extension to get around and help them enjoy everything the capital has to offer.”
Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “London's world-famous Tube network has two new stations from today, the first stops to be added so far this century, with names that will soon become familiar to Londoners as they return to public transport after the pandemic. Ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth line next year, these upgrades extend vital connectivity across the greatest city in the world and show the power of transport connections.”
Andy Lord, managing director of London Underground, said: “It is with enormous pride and excitement that we welcome our first customers to our new Northern line stations today. This is the first major Tube extension we’ve opened this century and the first new stations to open on the Northern line for 80 years. It has been a monumental effort during the most challenging of times but the opening of the Northern Line Extension could not have come at a more vital moment as London’s recovery from the pandemic gathers pace and people continue to return to the Tube network for work and leisure.”
The Northern Line Extension excavated around 850,000 tonnes of waste material in total during the lifetime of the construction project. 92% of the excavated material was carried in around 700 barge journeys along the River Thames to East Tilbury in Essex where it was used to create arable farmland. Transporting the excavated material in this way removed around 47,000 lorry journeys from the capital’s busy roads, reducing traffic congestion and helping to keep people walking and cycling safe. It also saved more than 2,600 tonnes of carbon emissions.
Around 100 members of station staff work at the two new stations, which are both step-free from street to train. Their opening today takes the total number of London Underground stations to 272 and means that 88 of these stations are now step-free.