The Northern line extension between Kennington and Battersea has entered the final trial operations stage ahead of its opening later this year.
Four trains per hour are currently being run through the extension at weekends as part of trial operations. 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.
A number of practice exercises will also be completed with TfL staff 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.
A new Northern line timetable will be introduced in autumn as the Northern Line Extension opens to the public. This includes direct services to and from Mill Hill East running for most of the day, meaning that customers no longer need to change at Finchley Central, and an increase in service levels on the Morden branch for the busiest hour in the morning peak.
When the Northern line extension opens, 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 ten in mid-2022.
Although the official opening date is “this autumn”, there is a target of opening the line in September.
The £1.2 billion extension is being funded by a mix of developer contributions and borrowing against future business rates to be collected from the Nine Elms Enterprise Zone that was set up in 2016 and due to last for 25 years.
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.”