TfL (Transport for London) are running test trains on the extensions new 3km twin tunnel railway which is between Kennington and Battersea Power station via Nine Elms.
The trains will be running every weekend which will create a trial that is very similar to the actual operating service and give vital information about supporting systems.
Four trains per hour will be running through the extension during the trial, and once it opens there will be an introductory peak time service of 6 trains which will increase to 12 trains per hour by the middle of 2022.
During off-peak times there will be an initial 5 trains per hour which will double up to 10 in mid-2022.
During the trial, operations and maintenance staff will be testing all systems needed to keep the extension in working order.
Northern line train drivers will also be completing familiarisation training for the new route and later in the summer months, approximately 100 members of station staff will be trained to become familiar with the two new step-free stations at both Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station.
TfL staff will also complete practice exercises such as emergency evacuations and testing safety procedures.
Both new stations are already fitted with lifts, escalators and ticket machines which will undergo final testing and bring them into service over the next few weeks.
The extension is set to open in autumn 2021 and will be a big help towards helping the capital’s recovery during a critical period and is seen as a major driver towards regeneration, supporting approximately 25,000 new jobs alongside 20,000 new homes.
The project has also provided 1,000 jobs with 79 of those being apprenticeships.
A brand new Northern line timetable will be released in autumn 2021 as the extension opens up to members of the public.
The timetable will include direct services to and from Mill Hill East which will run for the majority of the day which means passengers will not have to change at Finchley Central.
There will also be increased services on the Morden branch during the morning peak which is the busiest hour.
The Jubilee line will also be getting a new timetable which will begin on Sunday the 3rd of October 2021, this will have no changes to peak time service levels but there will be a small drop in off-peak services between West Hampstead and Stanmore during day times on weekdays and also Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport said: “The beginning of trial operations on the Northern Line Extension marks a major milestone in the project and it’s really exciting to see final training and testing taking place. When the extension opens this autumn, it will make a real difference to transport links south of the river, supporting thousands of new jobs and homes and boosting London’s recovery.”
Stuart Harvey, TfL’s Director of Major Projects, said: “The start of trial operations on the Northern Line Extension means we are now counting down to opening the first major Tube extension this century. It’s been a collaborative effort to get to this milestone, and we’ve worked closely with suppliers and stakeholders to make progress on the project, despite the challenge of the pandemic. We have been running isolated test trains through the extension since late 2020 but the successful integration of its software and signalling with the rest of the Northern line means the trials to test safety and reliability can start. It’s a busy time as we will also be training the drivers and station staff so they are ready to welcome our first customers.”
Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council and co-chair of the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, said: “We’re delighted that the countdown really has begun until new Northern line stations open at Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms this autumn. Delivering the first Tube connection here was a key part of our long-term vision that would unlock the potential of these long-neglected brownfield sites and plug the area into the rest of London. So we’re proud that just a decade later these plans are coming to fruition for our residents and will open the door to future investment in the area.”
Simon Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Battersea Power Station Development Company, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with TfL on the delivery of the first major extension to the London Underground network in over 20 years which is fundamental to the development and the jobs, homes and community that are being created. We are looking forward to the opening of the line and the Zone One Underground station at Battersea Power Station in the autumn.”
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