Northern line extension trial operations commence

Testing CCTV resolution as part of Northern line extension trial operations.

Trial operations have commenced on London Underground’s new 3km twin-tunnel Northern Line Extension between Kennington and Battersea Power Station, via Nine Elms.

Four Northern line trains per hour are now running through the new tunnels every weekend, allowing the new railway’s systems to be tested by running as close to an operational service as possible. 

While operations and maintenance staff are testing all the systems, Northern line train drivers will complete familiarisation training on the route. Later this summer, around 100 members of station staff will also undertake training to become familiar with the two new step-free stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. 

Throughout this trial period, operations and maintenance staff are testing all the systems required to keep the extension running, and existing Northern line train drivers will complete familiarisation training on the route. Later this summer, around 100 members of station staff will also undertake training to become familiar with the two new step-free stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. 

Doors close on a test train at Nine Elms during trail operations.

A number of practice exercises will also be completed before opening, including trial emergency evacuations, to test safety procedures.

Lifts, escalators and ticket machines are all in place at both new stations and final testing and commissioning of these assets underway and due to be completed in the coming weeks. 

Heidi Alexander, Deputy London Mayor.

Once the extension opens in the autumn, there will be an initial peak-time service of six trains per hour, increasing to 12 trains per hour by mid-2022. There will be five trains per hour during off-peak times, doubling to 10.

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, Transport for London.

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.” 

The first major Tube extension this century, the Northern Line Extension will transform transport links in south London, bringing Battersea and surrounding areas within 15 minutes of the West End and the City.

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