Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the Waterloo & City line will re-open today (Monday 07 June) to boost the capacity of the transport network as London continues to recover from the pandemic. The line, which connects Waterloo and Bank stations, is an important commuter link and has been closed since March last year.
The Waterloo & City line will run every five minutes Monday to Friday from 06:00 to 10:00 in the morning and 15:30 to 19:00 in the afternoon. This will enable customers to stagger their journeys during the morning and afternoon peak, and add extra capacity for people who are unable to change their working hours and have to travel at these times. Customers should still follow all the Government’s advice and when using the network, people are encouraged to travel at quieter times where possible. TfL will continue to monitor demand across the network.
Since March 2020, Waterloo & City line drivers have played an important role in the fight against COVID-19 by supporting the Central line. Using these drivers on the Central line has ensured that TfL could run as many services as possible to enable social distancing.
London Underground staff have worked hard to ensure that the Waterloo & City line could return as soon as possible. It was initially planned that the line would re-open on 21 June. Ridership on the tube has increased by more than 20 per cent since 17 May. The extra capacity provided by the re-opening of the Waterloo & City line will provide more options for people travelling at the busiest times.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “I’m delighted that the Waterloo & City line is returning from today, ahead of schedule. As London’s economy continues to re-open and more people return to the offices, having this key artery connecting Waterloo and Bank stations up and running will be vital.
“The line will not only make transport a lot more convenient for people travelling to and from the heart of the City of London, but it will support our businesses in the City that help to drive London and the UK’s economy and help our eco-system of retail, hospitality and cultural venues, which are vital to our economic prosperity.”
Andy Lord, Managing Director of London Underground, said: “The reopening of the Waterloo & City line is a welcome step back towards normality for the City as well as for the rest of London. I am proud of the fantastic work done behind the scenes that has enabled us to bring the line back into service sooner than projected, and look forward to customers being able to use the full network for the first time since the pandemic began.”
Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, Catherine McGuinness, said: “Today’s reopening of the historic Waterloo & City line is an exciting and vital moment in the Square Mile’s recovery as it marks a huge step on our journey back to normality.
“The Waterloo & City line will support the return of the City’s commuting workforce back to the Square Mile as the easing of restrictions allows. The additional footfall generated will also provide reassurance to the many businesses that rely on commuter traffic for trade.
“We warmly welcome the line back into service today, as we look ahead to a successful and sustainable economic recovery and a restoring of life and vibrancy to City streets.”
Claire Mann, Managing Director of South Western Railway, said: “The reopening of the Waterloo & City line is great news for our customers who travel into London Waterloo. This added connectivity will be a real boost to all those needing to travel into the city and beyond, and will also play an important part in the return to normality everyone is working towards.”
Adam Tyndall, Programme Director for Connectivity at London First, said: “It is fantastic to see the Waterloo & City Line reopen. As London’s businesses continue to open up and more people return to the capital, having extra capacity to transport passengers safely is another sign of confidence in London’s economic future as we recover from the pandemic.”
As has been the case since July 2020, TfL continues to run near-normal levels of service across the public transport network. A wide range of active travel options are also available, including Santander Cycles and protected cycling and walking routes, especially in central London and the West End.
TfL’s enhanced cleaning regime continues to make the network cleaner than ever. Trains, trams, buses and stations are cleaned with hospital-grade cleaning substances that kill viruses and bacteria on contact and provide ongoing protection. Independent testing by Imperial College London has been carried out monthly since September, taking swabs of touch points in stations, buses and air samples in ticket halls and has found no traces of coronavirus on the transport network.
The transport network is also well ventilated. Train and bus doors opening frequently ensures regular exchange of air across the public transport network, while the constant movement of trains draws fresh air into the system and in the deeper Tube lines ventilation shafts and fans supplement that air movement. Buses are also fitted with a range of air extraction and ventilation systems. These systems, in conjunction with leaving windows open and the frequent opening of doors, ensure the flow of fresh air through the vehicle.
As more people return to the network there will be occasions when social distancing will not possible. Users of frequent Tube, bus and rail services are advised to consider waiting for the next service if necessary. Face coverings must still be worn across the transport network, and customers are encouraged to continue to check before they travel.
Photo credit: Transport for London