Transport for London (TfL) said today over 200,000 Northern Line passengers will benefit from quicker and more frequent trips as it boosts its high frequency services.
From today, 225,000 commuters will benefit from a new timetable which will see TfL doubling the length of its highest frequency "evening peak" services in the central London section to tackle crowding.
Between 5pm and 7pm, the Northern Line carries around 225,000 passengers a day. Now, these customers will benefit from 24 trains an hour on both central London branches of the Northern Line, as well as 30 trains an hour on the Kennington to Morden section between 5pm and 7pm.
Previously, that level of peak service had only run for an hour, between 5.30pm and 6.30pm, so TfL said this change effectively doubles the length of time that the highest frequency services operate.
Mark Wild, TfL’s managing director of London Underground, said: “This boost in capacity is a hugely important step in making journeys quicker and more comfortable for our hundreds of thousands of customers who use the Northern Line. We have worked hard to find innovative ways to maximise train frequency on the Northern Line which means we can offer the best level of service in the line’s 127-year history.”
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
The Northern Line is the busiest line on London’s Tube network, and our new timetable will provide a quicker, less crowded journey for hundreds of thousands of commuters who rely upon the line every day.
Since becoming mayor I’ve frozen TfL fares and invested record amounts in new infrastructure across London’s transport network. I’m delighted that by doubling the time of high frequency evening services, more Londoners on the Northern Line will now get home faster after a long day at work.
Last year, Northern Line customers completed 294m journeys, making it the busiest Tube line. It runs through both Waterloo and King's Cross St Pancras Tube stations - the two busiest on the network.
These changes to the Northern Line have been made after TfL was forced to shelve upgrades on both the Northern and Jubilee Lines, because of an unexpected dip in passenger numbers.
A fall of around two per cent in Tube numbers has had a significant impact on TfL's five-year business plan, as the Tube is the only part of the public transport network making a profit, leaving the transport body "faced with an investment prioritisation process".
There had been plans to buy more trains for the two lines, but they have been ditched in order to save £600m over the business plan period. TfL said it was confident of delivering extra capacity without the need for new trains, by looking at sweating its assets.