London Underground announces increase in peak time services
East Putney & Putney Bridge is set to be served by an extra five District Line tubes during the morning rush hour from December.
London Underground (LU) plans to make the changes by ending weekday services to Kensington Olympia, which carries less than 1% of District Line passengers, compared with 30% on the Wimbledon branch.
LU is intending to introduce a new timetable from December, which will deal with issues caused by bottlenecks around Earls Court. The Olympia service will still operate during the weekend, and LU plans to operate special services to serve major weekday events at the Olympia exhibition centre.
From May 2011, Kensington (Olympia) will benefit from additional London Overground services, with four trains serving the station every hour (replacing the current three-train service), with interchange to the Tube available at both West Brompton (District line) and Shepherds Bush (Central line) stations.
During the week passengers will also be able to use nearby Barons Court or West Kensington stations, both of which are within half a mile of the Olympia Exhibition Centre.
Richard Parry, Strategy and Commercial Director, LU, said:
"The District line is one of the busiest lines on the Tube network used by over 700,000 people each day. The introduction of the new timetable would provide significant reliability improvements for the whole line and in particular major benefits to customers who use the Wimbledon branch with an additional five trains during the morning peak.
"This is only possible by withdrawing the under-utilised weekday Olympia District line service, however with an increase in the London Overground service to Kensington (Olympia) from May we believe that our proposals balance the needs of all customers, including those travelling to Olympia."
MP for Putney Justine Greening, who regularly uses the District line to commute to work, recently met with Mike Brown, Managing Director for London Underground, to urge London Underground to make better use of capacity on the District Line and direct more trains along the Wimbledon Branch to meet the increased demand, particularly in the morning rush hour.
Justine says “Like other regular commuters, I know a better District line service is critical to residents. We have had improvements with extra tubes and more city bound trains over the past few years but I am continuing to work hard to press London Underground to use the current tube line capacity to better meet local needs.
Merton and Wandsworth’s London Assembly member, Richard Tracey said:
“I have long campaigned for these improvements, so this is great news for people using the Tube and rail services from Wimbledon station – particularly my Merton and Putney constituents. These increased services will streamline journeys, making them more reliable and provide more choice to the travelling public.
“It’s been brought about by the ending of District line services through Olympia, which will free up track for the new London Overground orbital railway services. It was also result in fewer trains passing through Earl’s Court leading to smoother running of services through that key hub. So I’m delighted at this decision, it’s a win for my constituents. It’s a win for London’s travelling public.”
The proposals would see five extra trains on our stretch of the District line, which will really help ease overcrowding and improve reliability for passengers. This is on top of the improvements to the District line service we have already seen over the last few years including the extra morning peak trains already redirected along the Wimbledon branch, the extra city bound District Line trains following the extension of the Circle Line, and the modernisation works at Southfields Station, which I campaigned hard for on behalf of residents. I very much welcome this timetabling change and think it is really important London Underground keep reviewing local service and demand on the line as more and more local residents use the tube.”
As part of LU's upgrade plan, the District line will be also be completely upgraded with new air-conditioned trains being introduced on the line from 2013 and a new signalling system to be introduced by 2018. Overall, the upgrade will deliver 24 per cent more capacity to the line
LU is inviting views on the plans from interested parties to be sent to their Customer Service Centre, 55 Broadway, London, SW1H 0BD, by May 31.
March 30, 2011