Piccadilly line trains will start to call at South Kensington tube station again next week – from Wednesday 1st June following work to replace all five escalators in the station.
Trains on the Piccadilly line stopped calling at South Kensington station in February 2021 for 15 months of escalator works which had to be done all at the same time and required a considerable amount of rebuilding works underneath the old escalators to fit the new ones into place. As well as being more energy-efficient than their predecessors, the new escalators are also more reliable and less prone to failure.
The escalators, which were installed in 1973 and were at the end of their lifespan, had become unreliable and were the highest priority escalators for replacement on the Tube network.
The escalator replacement work at South Kensington took 15 months to complete due to the complexity of working with such historic assets, the access restrictions from the street through the arcade and station buildings (all of which are listed) and the extensive works that needed to be completed prior to the escalators being delivered and installed.
For an in-depth look at the work that needed to replace the escalators, go here.
Before the Piccadilly line starts serving South Kensington station again on 1 June, TfL has taken the opportunity to deep clean the Piccadilly line platforms as well as all stairs and corridors leading to them, re-painted the arcade stairways, and replaced the tiles at the top and bottom of the new escalators. In addition, the customer areas between the escalators have been re-surfaced.
Esther Sharples, TfL’s Director of Asset Performance and Capital Delivery, said: “I’m delighted that the Piccadilly line will serve South Kensington again ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which will bring more visitors to the area as they seek to enjoy all that this vibrant area of London has to offer.”
London Underground’s escalators are heavy-duty machines and tend to be in operation in both directions for up to 20 hours a day. They weigh around 40 tonnes each and carry millions of people each year. A typical 15-metre rise escalator has approximately 15,000 moving components. Thirty-four of the new escalators of the same type that have been installed at South Kensington tube station are already in operation at London Underground stations. Sixty-four of these escalators have also been installed on the Elizabeth line, which launched earlier this week.