TfL begins operations on Northern Line Extension

Posted: 9 July 2021 | | No comments yet

The new Northern Line Extension is the first major Tube extension this century, and is due to open in this Autumn to passengers with a peak service of 12 trains per hour by mid-2022.

northern line

The extension will run between Kennington to Battersea Power Station via Nine Elms

The Northern Line Extension has reached a major milestone with the start of trial operations on the new three kilometre twin-tunnel railway between Kennington and Battersea Power Station, via Nine Elms.

Transport for London (TfL) says it is now running Northern line trains through the new tunnels every weekend to allow the railway and supporting systems to be run as close to an operational service as possible. 

The extension is due to open in the Autumn, as the UK capital looks to continue to rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic. Four trains per hour are currently being run through the extension at weekends as part of trial operations. Once the extension opens, there will be an initial peak time service of six trains per hour, increasing to 12 trains per hour by mid-2022. There will be five trains per hour during off-peak times, doubling to 10.

Throughout this trial period, TfL says operations and maintenance staff are testing all the systems required to keep the extension running, and existing Northern line train drivers will complete familiarisation training on the route. Later this summer, around 100 members of station staff will also undertake training to become familiar with the two new step-free stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. 

A number of practice exercises will also be completed with TfL staff before opening, including trial emergency evacuations, to test safety procedures.

Lifts, escalators and ticket machines are all in place at both new stations and final testing and commissioning of these assets underway and due to be completed in the coming weeks. 

“The beginning of trial operations on the Northern Line Extension marks a major milestone in the project and it’s really exciting to see final training and testing taking place,” said Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport.

“When the extension opens this autumn, it will make a real difference to transport links south of the river, supporting thousands of new jobs and homes and boosting London’s recovery.”

“The start of trial operations on the Northern Line Extension means we are now counting down to opening the first major Tube extension this century,” added Stuart Harvey, TfL’s Director of Major Projects.  

“It’s been a collaborative effort to get to this milestone, and we’ve worked closely with suppliers and stakeholders to make progress on the project, despite the challenge of the pandemic. We have been running isolated test trains through the extension since late 2020 but the successful integration of its software and signalling with the rest of the Northern line means the trials to test safety and reliability can start. It’s a busy time as we will also be training the drivers and station staff so they are ready to welcome our first customers.” 

The Northern Line Extension is a key driver for regeneration, supporting around 25,000 new jobs and more than 20,000 new homes. The project itself has also boosted the UK economy, providing almost 1,000 jobs including 79 apprenticeships.