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.

Testing CCTV camera resolution (c) TfL

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.

Drivers cab during Track to Train CCTV image adjustment & testing (c) TfL

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.

Battersea Power Station platform (c) TfL

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.”


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  1. D says:

    I thought there would have been platform edge doors

    • ianVisits says:

      That would require a significant upgrade of the signalling and control inside all the trains though.

    • Uche Mick Chinonso says:

      I have a feeling that will be a common feature on the Bakerloo Line extension to save costs. TfL are so cash strapped that they’ll resort to forgoing futuristic safety features.

    • Peter says:

      Full height platform doors are generally an airflow management device, not a safety feature, and there have been fears they might cause safety issues by increasing people being trapped in doors.

  2. c says:

    Bakerloo is a little too bendy too. These look like JLE stations (presumably with nippy journey times until Kennington loop!)

    Good to see, but would be better to continue to Clapham Junction with a station in ‘real’ Battersea, where people actually live. At full eventual capacity (30tph), it could take the traffic I think – and relieve the Victoria line in a big way at both Victoria and Vauxhall.

    • Cameron Allan says:

      Problem would be though that with all the mainline trains coming into Clapham junction everyone would change into the northern line, meaning that the northern line trains would be full almost immediately after leaving Clapham junction. It is going to be extended, once cross rail 2 is built in order to relieve the capacity issues that are currently the main issue with extending the northern line to CJ.

    • Uche Mick Chinonso says:

      I have always simulated that idea of having a station called Battersea (2 km away from the power station) with Clapham Junction as a surface station. As already acknowledged, this spur will be overcrowded to the point where the original stations will not serve their intended passengers. Crossrail 2 is needed before further extensions are commissioned.

    • Paul says:

      I’m cynical about the argument that an NLE to Clapham Junction would cause a problem with people changing from the mainline. I think the reality is that no-one really knows and TfL is concerned about the risk of possible issues rather than issues being an absolute certainty.

      Running against the theory you have that –
      – With 3-5 extra stops and a more circuitous route, the Northern line would take substantially longer than the mainline to reach Waterloo from CLJ
      – Many who did decide to change at CLJ would just be folks who’d be getting the Northern from Waterloo anyway so that’s a quid pro quo
      – If the Northern extension attracted people who otherwise change at Victoria or Vauxhall for the Victoria line, surely this would be a good thing as these stations and the Victoria line are all overloaded in the peak
      – Equally reducing pressure on Waterloo as a terminus and interchange could have benefits
      – A service of even 12tph suggests the NLE will initially at least be an under-utilised asset, there’s room to at least double that.
      – Folks from all the new housing at Battersea PS/Nine Elms will end up travelling via Waterloo to reach destinations that they could otherwise access via CLJ, such as Gatwick, Brighton, destinations on London Overground and many others.

  3. Mark says:

    When I next go to London as a visitor I might have to travel on the new extension my favourite line is the Northern I used to like traveling between High Barnet and Leicester Square stations

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