A consultation held to show off plans to substantially upgrade Holborn tube station has found, unsurprisingly, widespread support for the plans. TfL can now move onto the next stage which is to flesh out the plans ahead of the second consultation in 2020 before seeking planning permissions.
The intention is to build a brand new entrance on the north side of High Holborn to relieve congestion on the existing Kingsway entrance, while also improving access to the Piccadilly line platforms.
If approved, work on the upgrade should start in 2023, and take around 6 years to complete. That deadline appears to have slipped by a couple of years, as the consultation indicated construction work would be starting in 2021.
Of the 981 public replies to the consultation, 86 percent strongly agreed that Holborn station needed upgrading, while 12 percent agreed in general — and 1 percent indicated that it’s perfectly fine as it is.
Presumably the one-percent use the station at very quiet times.
Responding to feedback that the upgrade should be delivered quicker, TfL noted that station capacity upgrade projects of this scale typically take around ten years to deliver. This includes around three to four years to secure the necessary planning permissions, including a Transport and Works Act Order, and a further five to six years to construct. Holborn is no different to stations such as Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street that have only just been completed.
There were also concerns about the construction, as the existing Kingsway entrance will have to close for 18-months during construction. However that wouldn’t happen until the new second entrance planned at Procter Street has opened.
One aspect of the upgrade plans that has caused concern, mainly with the heritage fans is that the link with the tunnels down to Aldwych station would need to be cut off forever, while the disused Platform 5 will be turned into a lower level concourse area.
TfL says that re-using the disused Platform 5 provides both a significant cost saving to the project and a considerable environmental benefit by reducing the extent of tunnelling works required.
They believe this benefit outweighs retaining train access to Aldwych station as there are no plans to re-open this branch line. However, the Aldwych station will retain its current use for filming and training.
There’s also a note in the documents that platform edge doors could be added later as part of the Piccadilly line upgrade to provide fully automated operation (known as GOA4) which, subject to funding, could be delivered by the mid 2030s.