From late next February, Piccadilly line trains won’t be stopping at South Kensington tube station while escalator replacement works are carried out. The works will take more than a year, lasting until early spring 2022.

The works will see all five Piccadilly line escalators, originally installed in 1973 being replaced. The escalators, which are past their nominal 40-year design life have become unreliable and are now the highest priority escalators for replacement on the Tube network.

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.

The replacement escalators are a new more efficient design that has already been used on 25 other tube stations and will be in use on the Elizabeth line when it opens.

The tube station will remain open for Circle and District line services, and Piccadilly line passengers will be advised to use the nearby Gloucester Road station, which is about an 8-minute walk away. More detailed travel advice is set to be published in early 2021.

In related news, works will start next month to remove a retail kiosk in the ticket hall to make more space ahead of the long planned upgrade of the station to cope with demand.


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  1. paul wojtusciszyn says:

    i’d like to see escalators from the platform to what was the ticket hall,it’s a bit of a hike up to ground level esp when thecyears start to catch up with you.

  2. Peter Gresswell says:

    I’d like to see visitors to the South Kensington museums permanently diverted to Gloucester Road station. It’s a better station to cope with the crowds and is only one minute further away from the museums, if that.

    There is a rumour in South Kensington that TfL likes keeping South Kensington dysfunctionally busy as they think it strengthens their case to demolish and rebuild the station as a shopping mall.

    • ianvisits says:

      Gloucester Road has far less capacity than Sth Kensington due to the lack of escalators from the Piccadilly line to the street.

  3. SteveP says:

    I wonder if they will take the opportunity to make two of each escalator. We have been told many times each one is a unique creation and hence the inordinately long time required for replacement.

    The “spare” could be stored remotely and would be a source for an immediate spare part if/when required, or it could be “swapped in” more quickly (one would hope) when replacement was required.

    As it is, it seems escalator replacement is always a bit “Groundhog Day” as in “Oooo – we’ve never seen this before”

  4. Andrew Gwilt says:

    At least there are alternatives.

  5. Corey Graves says:

    To be honest, it’s about time South Ken got new escalators, If I remember correctly, the Picadilly has the 2nd oldest trains on the network, the oldest being the Bakerloo,
    But I have a theory, On the Bakerloo, the train number (for example 275) is digital, on the right hand side of the train as it pulls into a station,
    On the Picadily trains, this number is not digital, it is in fact positioned on the blind directly beneath the Destanation,
    So how is it the Bakerloo has the oldest trains yet they look more modern then the Picadilly ones?

    • Corey Graves says:

      Corection: The Bakerloo number is on the left hand side, not the right.
      Sorry about that little mistake.

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