TfL Confirm Turnham Green Services After Piccadilly Line Upgrade

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At the beginning of the month, in our article on the future of the Piccadilly Line, Pedantic of Purley indicated that London commuters would almost certainly see Piccadilly Line trains stopping at Turnham Green on a permanent basis after the Line was upgraded.

The reasons for this were as much (if not more) technical as for the benefit of commuters (bolding mine):

As we have already seen though, the upgrade of the Piccadilly Line raises a couple of issues regarding stopping at Turnham Green. The first is that if the District Line no longer goes to Ealing Broadway then it would make some sense for Piccadilly Line trains to stop at Turnham Green as the first (or last) station served by both lines. This would avoid longer journey times for journeys such Richmond to Acton Town as well as reduce others such as Heathrow to Richmond. The latter could probably more sensibly be done by bus to Feltham and then main line train but for those relying on the Underground Map or with bulky luggage the Underground will always be the more obvious option.

The other issue at Turnham Green is platform edge doors. These are extremely expensive to install, so realistically you either have to abandon stops at Turnham Green or you have to make installing the platform edge doors worthwhile by having trains call there all day. It is likely significant that London Underground recently launched a consultation for views on additional Piccadilly Line trains stopping at Turnham Green. Whilst this was partially done because of local pressure to provide a better service at that station and the timing was probably not what London Underground would have liked (far too early), the idea in principle probably did not go down too badly at LU headquarters. It has the feel of similar consultations on direct services to Chesham or withdrawing the District Line to Olympia on weekdays – all part of the process of getting the pieces to fit into the final scheme.

Today, TfL have released a press announcement confirming that this will indeed be the case:

Piccadilly line services to stop at Turnham Green following line upgrade

  • More than 14,000 responses to public engagement received
  • Night Tube will stop at station during 2015

Following the Mayor’s promise in 2012 and the results of a huge engagement programme to gather views on Piccadilly line services, Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that Piccadilly line trains will stop at Turnham Green once the line has been upgraded.

The engagement programme was carried out between August and October to gauge people’s opinion of the line and to gather feedback on how TfL could improve the line’s services overall. More than 14,000 responses were received from over 70 postcode areas.

Feedback from customers and stakeholders demonstrated strong local support for changing stopping arrangements at Turnham Green throughout the day. Currently, due to a limited number of available trains and outdated signalling which prevents trains being run closer together, it is not possible to stop more services at the station without increasing journey times across the rest of the line. However, TfL now plans to stop Piccadilly line trains at Turnham Green all day once the line is modernised, a new, larger fleet of trains is in place and improved signalling systems are installed.

The press release may brush over the technical pressures for this change, but ultimately this will represent good news for those passengers who have pushed for it.

It is worth remembering, however, that the press release doesn’t carry a proposed timescale for a reason. As we made clear in the Piccadilly Line article, the upgrade programme is still being defined, and ultimately any change to stopping at Turnham Green will – again for technical reasons – come at the end of the upgrade programme, not the beginning. Crossrail will need to be in place to provide additional relief for Heathrow traffic and all the old 1973 stock trains, with their less optimal performance capability, will need to be withdrawn.

Those excited by this news should thus manage their expectations, as 2023 is likely the most realistic estimate for this happening.

Written by John Bull