The Night Tube is go.
London's new mayor Sadiq Khan has formally announced the 24-hour service will begin on Central and Victoria lines from 19 August, with Piccadilly, Jubilee and Northern lines to follow in the autumn.
The launch – almost exactly a year to the date that it was due to go live – means that London will have a 24-hour weekend service for the first time in its history. Transport for London estimates it will cut journey times by an average of 20 minutes, and support around 2,000 permanent jobs as well as boosting London’s economy by £360m.
What does the Night Tube service look like?
There will be six trains per hour through central London on all Night Tube lines between 12:30am and 5:30am. This will increase to eight trains per hour on the Northern line to meet demand at busy stations between Leicester Square and Camden Town.
The second phase will begin in the autumn when new Tube drivers complete their training. Around 200 part-time drivers are currently taking part in a 14-week training programme to make the Night Tube a reality.
Central line: trains will run between Ealing Broadway and Loughton / Hainault
Victoria line: trains will run on the entire line
Jubilee line: trains will run on the entire line
Northern line: trains will run on the entire line except on the Mill Hill East and Bank branches
Piccadilly line: trains will run between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 5
Still not clear? Check out the Night Tube map here…
Coup for Khan?
Although the Night Tube was very much part of his predecessor's plans (admittedly, Boris Johnson did tip it for a July launch) the new Labour mayor is chalking the launch up as a win for himself.
It is the second major transport policy he has announced within just a couple of weeks of winning the election, and comes after months of stand-offs between TfL, City Hall and Tube workers that caused travel misery for the capital's commuters.
Khan said: "The Night Tube is absolutely vital to my plans to support and grow London's night time economy – creating more jobs and opportunities for all Londoners. The constant delays under the previous mayor let Londoners down badly.
“I have made getting the Night Tube up and running a priority, and London Underground has now confirmed that services on the first two lines will launch on 19 August.”
London’s Transport commissioner, Mike Brown, said: “It is good news for London that the first ever all-night Tube service will be ready on 19 August.
"More than half a million people use the Tube after 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and the introduction of the Night Tube, which will support London's businesses and jobs, is a historic step in our modernisation of the Underground and our work to support London’s economic growth."
What do the unions say?
Predictably, they are not completely happy.
General secretary Mick Cash said: "There are major unresolved issues in relation to the Tube lines engineering workforce and it is imperative that the company now moves quickly to address the points at the core of that dispute and reaches a proper negotiated settlement with the union that doesn't leave that essential group of workers disadvantaged on conditions and pensions.
"RMT also still has major concerns over the safe running of the Night Tube and there are unresolved issues on the detailed safety case that will have to be agreed through the Health and Safety machinery.
"Against a background of massive cuts over shadowing TFL budgets all parties have to be clear that Night Tube, a development that RMT supports, cannot be delivered on the cheap."