Northern tube line could be split
The separation of London Underground’s Northern tube line into its two component parts appears to have moved a step closer.
The Northern is the most complex of all the tube routes, and separation – to boost capacity – has long been a TfL aspiration. Currently, the maximum (morning peak) capacity is 26 trains per hour (tph) via Bank, and 24tph via Charing Cross. The ongoing Northern Line Upgrade 2 (NLU2) will increase that to 30tph by 2021.
However, this may still not be enough: According to minutes from a recently held TfL finance & policy committee meeting, separation is now being seriously considered for the next stage (Upgrade 3):
“The Northern Line Upgrade 3 (NLU3) will deliver a fully separated Northern Line offering between 33 and 36tph by April 2023. However, it is dependent upon the prior implementation of the Camden Town Station Congestion Relief scheme for which Transport and Works Act Order approval is expected during autumn 2017.”
A TfL spokesman informed LTT that the situation was under review: “We are currently carrying out the feasibility stage for increasing Northern line service to up to 36 trains per hour. Should full separation go ahead, it wouldn’t be introduced for another ten years – sometime in the mid-2020s.”
NLU3 would also need an additional six trains to the 19 (minimum) or 45 (maximum) required under NLU2, as well as associated stabling and infrastructure works. Separation would necessitate extensive engineering works at Camden Town.
The Northern Line was created when the Hampstead tube (via Charing Cross) and the City tube (via Bank) where physically linked at Camden Town in the north (in 1924), and Kennington in the south (in 1926), though the name was not formally adopted until 1937.