By James Mayer, Local Democracy Reporter
Commuters in South London are fuming at plans to close a key tube link for over four months.
The Bank branch of the Northern line between Kennington and Moorgate will be shut for 17 weeks from January 15 for vital engineering work.
This will mean families living near the affected Northern line tube stops won’t be able to take the line into the City directly until mid May 2022.
Northern line stations at London Bridge, Borough and Elephant and Castle are affected.
Transport for London (TfL) is upgrading Bank station to increase capacity and add step-free access to the Northern line with a new entrance and easier routes around the area.
Replacement bus routes will be added to alleviate overcrowding during rush hour periods.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service spoke to residents in Tooting, which has two Northern line stations.
Clare Davis, 26, said: “It’s going to be quite an inconvenience as my office is in Old Street so I’d have to do a loop around London to get to work.
“It will be fine as there’s enough transport links around London but it’s just something annoying.”
Mum Michelle Gambell, 56, said: “It won’t affect me but it will my son, he works in Charing Cross.
“He is going to have to go round the houses to get to work so it will affect him.
“TfL does this [engineering work] all the time.”
Nigel Noel, 55, described the Bank station works as being “nothing new”.
He said: “Over here it takes weeks and weeks to fix anything. We are drinking too much tea over here and not getting the job done.”
Commuter Sarah Bellerby, 40, said: “The closure will affect my travel but I’ll find alternative routes.
“If TfL are doing things like making more step-free access then I support it because the Tube doesn’t really cater for wheelchairs and I have a buggy myself.
“If it’s to improve the network in the long term then we just have to get on with it.”
Seb Dance, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “The much-needed renovation of Bank station will significantly increase the capacity of this key interchange station and improve the passenger experience.
“Once the upgrade is complete, passengers will benefit from step-free access to the Northern line, a new entrance and quicker, easier journeys.”
Andy Lord, managing director of London Underground, said: “The Bank station capacity upgrade is a crucial project that will support the City’s growth and success after these challenging years of navigating the pandemic.
“I’m sorry for the disruption this vital work will cause, and I can assure Londoners that if there was any other way to connect the new tunnels with the existing railway then we would.”
TfL is asking customers to travel at quieter times or use alternative routes during the closure, as many lines and stations across central London will be busier.
Quieter times on the Tube and rail services are currently between 8.45am and 4.30pm and after 6.45pm during the week but these times may change.
The work around Bank station will involve removing and replacing tracks, extra tunnelling and building a new concourse.
Pictured top: Clare Davis
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