Line Problems and TCR Announcements


Seemingly proof that Sod’s Law is still a force to be reckoned with in the Capital, TfL’s announcement that the Jubilee Line upgrades were proceeding well has been followed by several days of serious disruption on the line.

This appears to have been focussed mainly on the Canary Wharf – North Greenwich stretch that was identified in our recent overview of the upgrades as one of the remaining areas causing serious issues. Precisely what those issues are remains unclear, but it’ll be interesting to see how quickly they are addressed. Talk of the Mayor “screaming down the phone” to Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy seems somewhat hyperbolic and unnecessary, but it is clear that the area around Canary Wharf still needs some work.

Elsewhere, it was the Central Line that suffered serious issues today. A signal failure this morning in the White City area caused problems, but this was eclipsed by an unrelated line-wide radio failure that necessitated the temporary suspension of all services until the issue was solved shortly after 1400hrs.

Coming on the back of the above, it is perhaps understandable that many newspapers have focussed on the negatives in the confirmation announcement today detailing the closures and diversions for Crossrail and Underground upgrade work at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.

The work is obviously vital and unavoidable, but it has now been confirmed that Oxford Street will be closed to eastbound traffic between Duke Street and Vere Street from 14 February for nine months. Full details on what this will mean in the way of bus diversions are not yet available, but are promised shortly.

In addition to this, it has also been confirmed that the Northern Line will not stop at Tottenham Court Road from April onwards for approximately eight months, which will bring disruption to many people’s journeys (and no doubt confusion to tourists that congregate there in the summer).

It is tempting to wonder what the wider implications for this will be. TfL are recommending travellers use Leicester Square station instead, but it’ll be interesting to see what impact this has on the other major Northern Line/Central Line interchange – Bank station. The two interchanges may be on different branches of the Northern Line, but Bank already suffers from overcrowding and so even a small shift in traffic towards the station could have a major effect. Caroline Pidgeon pressed the Mayor on the issue of Bank closures at the end of last year, and this lead to confirmation that overcrowding resulted in the station being evacuated seven times in 2010. It is tempting to wonder whether an eight month closure at TCR might not result in Bank beating that figure this year.

So all in all, the future across all lines remains bright, but there is no doubt that there is plenty of pain still to come in the short term.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.