Milestones Reached on the Jubilee and Victoria Lines

The Jubilee line upgrade is now essentially complete, after nearly six years of constant weekend closures. Although there is one more scheduled weekend closure on 4/5 September between West Hampstead and Stanmore to finish off some signalling work, the benefits of the upgrade can be already noticed.

End to end journey times on the line between Stanmore and Stratford have decreased by four minutes, from 64 to 60, a reduction of 6.25%, although Transport for London had indicated journey times would decrease by 22%.

Automatic Train Operation (ATO) is now in use throughout the entire line, with the Dollis Hill to Stanmore section being the last to be re-signalled.

As a result of the new signalling system, the headway between trains can safely be smaller, so the frequency of the service is improved. There are now 27 trains per hour (every 2.22 minutes) during peak times, compared to 24tph before (every 2.5 minutes). From January 2012 there will be an extra 3 tph, bringing to total to 30 tph (every 2 minutes).

Pre-31 July 2011:

– Northbound/Westbound to Willesden Green, every 3 – 5 minutes)
– Northbound/Westbound to Stanmore, every 3 – 8 minutes)
– Southbound/Eastbound to Stratford, every 3 – 5 minutes)

Post-31 July 2011:

– Northbound/Westbound to Willesden Green, every 2 – 4 minutes
– Northbound/Westbound to Stanmore, every 2 – 6 minutes
– Southbound/Eastbound to Stratford, every 2 – 4 minutes

This also means that Platform 3 at Stanmore can now finally be opened, as the old signalling system prevented the platform to be used. Platform 3 is a side platform and it was built a few years ago, but it remained unopened until recently.

Overall, capacity on the line will be increased by a third, meaning that an extra 12,500 people can travel on the line per hour. Capacity was also increased in December 2005, when a seventh car was added.

It may be London’s newest Underground line, but it operates on some of the oldest sections of the network; for example, the section between Finchley Road and West Hampstead was opened by the Metropolitan Railway in 1879.

Elsewhere on the Underground, the rollout of the new Victoria Line rolling stock is now also complete.

All the new 47 trains on the Victoria line, known as 2009 stock, are now in service (although only 43 are required for the peak service). This comes just over a month after the last 1967 stock was operated – the point at which LUL had enough new trains (and the signalling in place) to mean the 1967 stock was no longer needed.

The new trains take advantage of the slightly wider than normal tunnels, being 40mm wider than their predecessors. They also have wider doors, dedicated wheelchair spaces, full CCTV coverage, and onboard audio-visual announcements.

The completion of the rollout of the new trains comes almost exactly 40 years after the Brixton extension of the Victoria line was opened, on 23 July 1971. The first section of the line opened between Walthamstow Central and Highbury & Islington on 1 September 1968. Highbury & Islington to Warren Street was opened on 1 December 1968, with the rest of the original line to Victoria opening on 7 March 1969, by the Queen. Pimlico was the last station to open on the line, on 14 September 1972, having been added to the project after tunnelling for the Brixton extension had already started. Incidentally, it is the only station on the line that doesn’t have platform humps, where there is a slope up upon arrival to the station and a slope down upon departure; designed to save energy using gravity.

Work to finish removing the old signalling system will be concluded next year in 2012. The new signalling system means that train frequency can be improved, as trains will be able to safely run closer together, from the current 28 trains per hour (tph) to 30 tph in time for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

When the upgrade is completed in 2012, there will be the capacity for an extra 10,000 passengers per hour, an increase of 21%.

Written by George Moore