Two major milestones in the multi-billion pound programme to modernise the Tube are being marked today, with the opening of a brand new ticket hall at Tottenham Court Road station, and the delivery of 20% more capacity on the Northern line, equivalent to an extra 11,000 customers an hour.
The spacious and modern ticket hall at Tottenham Court Road has a new entrance on Oxford Street with three additional escalators leading down from the entrance to the ticket hall and a further three new escalators leading from the ticket hall to the Northern line lower concourse. The construction of the new ticket hall and the refurbishment of the passageways to the Northern line platforms has been a major engineering and construction effort. Around 327,000m of cabling - four times longer than the length of the Central line, and 80,000 ceramic tiles - enough for eight Olympic size swimming pools - have been installed.
While the new entrance and the ticket hall opened today, work at the station continues. By 2016, the station will be fully accessible, with five new lifts providing step-free access from the ticket hall leading to the platforms. Around 150,000 people currently use the station daily, but this is expected to rise to over 200,000 when TfL-run Crossrail serves the station in 2018. The station will have eight new escalators, five new lifts, new Art on the Underground installations, two iconic glass plaza entrances, new CCTV cameras, better lighting and other improvements.
The nearly one million customers who use the Northern line everyday are now also benefitting from a 20% increase in capacity through central London during peak times following the modernisation of the Northern line signalling. London Underground (LU) is now running more Northern line trains than ever before - up to 26 trains per hour during peak times through central London. By 2020, LU is planning to increase train frequencies on the line even further to at least 30 trains per hour by introducing new trains.
The new ticket hall and the Northern line upgrade are examples of the £10 billion programme of improvement that LU is carrying out to increase capacity and meet the ever-increasing demand for its services as London's population rises sharply and faster than any other European city.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: `Last month we had the busiest week on the Tube in its history and as London's population grows our work to modernise and improve our transport network becomes ever more vital. Passengers have already benefited from the upgrades of the Jubilee and Victoria lines and new and improved signalling will deliver a 20% increase in capacity on the Northern Line. Of course there remains much to be done. That's why we are pressing full steam ahead to deliver other major projects including the extension of the Northern Line, new trains and signalling and the next crop of Tube upgrades on the Piccadilly, Central and Bakerloo Lines.'
Mike Brown MVO, Managing Director of London Underground, said: `The opening of this fantastic new ticket hall in a key West End station and the completion of the main element of the Northern line are both significant milestones in our vital work to modernise the Tube and meet the demands of London's rapidly growing population.
`We are introducing 190 new trains across the Circle, Hammersmith & City Metropolitan and now the District line alongside major work on many stations across the network, and a wide range of track replacement. We need to maintain this pace of modernisation to ensure that London Underground can continue to support London's growth and economic development.'
Work will also begin this year to extend the Northern line to Battersea and Nine Elms. The vital addition to the Underground network will support the development of the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea area as a major extension to central London, supporting 24,000 new jobs and over 18,000 new homes. The extension will cut journey times to the West End and the City to just under 15 minutes.
London's population is set to grow from 8.4m today to around 10m by 2030 - that's an extra Tube train full of people every three days - and it is therefore essential that there is continued investment in increasing services and transport infrastructure to meet this increasing demand.
Redevelopment work to increase capacity at key stations and make them step-free, is underway at a number of stations including Victoria and Bond Street, and more than half of London Underground's 270 stations have now been modernised or refurbished to make them brighter and easier to use, with improvements such as tactile strips and better CCTV and help points, electronic information displays in ticket halls and on platforms, as well as improved seating and lighting.
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