ISSUE: Turnham Green Tube
Background to the Issue
The District Line first came to Turnham Green in 1877 three years after the line was first opened. In 1879 the line was extended to Ealing and by 1883 it had reached Osterley.
By the 1930s congestion had become so serious on this line that it was decided to extend the Piccadilly line west to relieve some of the pressure. In some cases the Piccadilly line took over the whole service and in others two lines ran parallel.
By 1964 the Piccadilly line was extended to Heathrow.
Although the nature of the service has changed over the years the Piccadilly line has never stopped regularly at Turnham Green for any sustained period.
For more detail on the history click here.
In March 1996 London Transport announced their intention to suspend the service which lead to a campaign by local people. Despite raising 9000 signatures this failed to retain a full service and in September 1996 the service was limited to the current restricted levels. Click here to read a communication written at the time by Nirj Deva the then local MP.
London Transport's Rationale
The standard answer from London Underground is that they cannot introduce a stop at Turnham Green because it would reduce the regularity of the Piccadilly line.
The one minute delay at the station multiplied by the hundreds of times a Piccadilly line train passes through Turnham Green would have an effect equal to taking two trains out of service.
The frequency of the Piccadilly line service could be brought back to previous levels if two extra trains and 6 drivers were added to the line but under the present very constrained funding plans this is not possible.
London Underground are not explicit about why the Piccadilly line is given such a priority over other lines. One possible explanation is that there is a longer term concern about the viability of the transport infrastructure as Heathrow Airport continues to expand. Campaigners against Terminal 5 have highlighted how projected passenger growth will further add to over-crowding on the Piccadilly line. This may have lead to London Underground having a firm brief to do everything they can to keep the Piccadilly line running as regularly as possible. BAA categorically deny that there is any deal between them and London Underground so, if there is an obligation to prioritise the Piccadilly line it probably comes from the DETR.
LUL are reported as saying that only 300 people a week would regularly catch the Piccadilly line from Turnham Green and 6,000 would do so occasionally. In contrast 40,000 people a week catch the train from Central London to Heathrow and to stop at Turnham Green would lead to a delay of 60 seconds.
For daily commuters it is difficult to understand why a train that goes to your desitination doesn't stop even though it will at many less used stations.
Turnham Green has all the necessary platform and track for Piccadilly line trains which do serve the station at the extreme of the day.
The latest numbers from London Underground show that Turnham Green is one of the busiest non-zone one stations on the network with 9,600 users on week days. No figures exist but it is reasonable to assume that at least a third of these passengers would use the Piccadilly line at some point in their journey.
The District line has inherited from the Northern line the title of "the misery line" with constant interruptions to the service. Although at peak times Turnham Green should get District line trains every 4-5 minutes, in practise passengers regularly have to wait much longer. This uncertainty element in a daily journey leads to people having to depart much earlier than necessary every day, a major inconvenience for people in Chiswick who are often working long hours to support big mortgages.
It is quite clear from the Forum on this site that local people feel strongly about this issue.
If you are a regular user of the service and would benefit from the Piccadilly line stopping at Turnham Green then click here to provide details of your daily commute.
can also contact customer services at LUL by e-mail