Essential escalator work at South Kensington Tube station starts in late February 2021

18 November 2020

Transport for London (TfL) is advising customers who use South Kensington Tube station that essential work to replace the escalators starts in late February 2021. It means that Piccadilly line trains will be non-stopping at the station from this date until early spring 2022.

The vital replacement programme will see all five Piccadilly line escalators at South Kensington station replaced. The escalators, which were installed in 1973 and are at the end of their lifespan, have become unreliable and are the highest priority escalators for replacement on the Tube network.

South Kensington station will remain open for Circle and District line customers. Customers will be able to use these lines if they need to alight at the station or alight at Gloucester Road, which is an eight minute walk to South Kensington. Detailed travel advice is set to be published in the new year.

The essential work will mean that the station, which prior to the pandemic saw almost 34 million customer journeys each year and provides an important gateway to the world-famous cultural attractions in the area, will have five new high-performing escalators for decades to come. All work will be carried out according to the latest social distancing guidelines for staff and customers.

Esther Sharples, Director of Asset Operations at London Underground, said: "Replacing the escalators will improve journeys through South Kensington station for years to come and give the station - which is an important gateway to some of London's most famous cultural attractions - much improved reliability. At nearly 50 years of age, they are some of the oldest escalators on the Tube network and have come to the end of their life. I'd like to thank customers at South Kensington in advance for their patience while this work is carried out."

London Underground's escalators are heavy-duty machines and tend to be in operation in both directions for up to 20 hours a day. They weigh around 40 tonnes each and carry millions of people each year. A typical 15-metre rise escalator has approximately 15,000 moving parts. Twenty-five of the new high-performing escalators of the same type that will be installed at South Kensington Tube station are already in operation at London Underground stations. They have also been installed extensively on the Elizabeth line.

Notes to editors
•    There are two banks of escalators serving the Piccadilly line at South Kensington Tube station; two escalators operate between the ticket hall and a mid-concourse level and three escalators operate between the mid-concourse and the Piccadilly line platforms.
•    TfL will issue detailed travel advice to Tube customers well in advance of the Piccadilly line escalator replacement works starting at South Kensington station in late February 2021.
•    The escalator replacement work is separate from the planned work to increase South Kensington station's capacity, which was paused temporarily due to the pandemic. Preliminary capacity upgrade works are now due to start next month, with the removal of a retail kiosk to make more space in the ticket hall and support social distancing. They are also separate from TfL and Native Land's planning application for the Around Station Development, which is awaiting determination by Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. This application includes providing step-free access to the Circle and District line services at the station as well as the provision of new shops, workspace and housing, 35 per cent of which will be affordable.
•    More details about the Tube's escalator replacement and refurbishment programme can be found here: