ISSUE: Turnham Green Tube

Why the Piccadilly Line Will Never Stop at Turnham Green

This Article was contributed by a member of this site and represents a personal opinion only. 

The Turnham Green issue is one that many people locally have spent the last decade trying to sort out. Now maybe is the time to make a realistic appraisal of why all these efforts have ended in failure.

The natural conclusion on receipt of a stone walling answer is that London Underground are an organisation which is both struck with inertia and unreceptive to passenger needs. This may be true but this is not the reason why they won't budge on Turnham Green.

They always refer to the overriding need to keep up the frequency of the Piccadilly line. Why does this line take priority over the other lines on the network?

The quick answer is that it serves Heathrow (well just over half the trains do) but the situation is much more complex than that. The reality is that a stop at Turnham Green is against the interests of both the government and the local council and therefore, whatever common sense and concerns about safety might suggest, it's not going to happen.

The campaign against Terminal 5 has been raging for many years now. It must be remembered that this isn't just a minor extension but a massive new development which will be three times the size of Terminal 4. The central plank of the anti- campaign is aircraft noise but in addition they have been raising concerns about transport infrastructure.

They point out correctly that the A4/M4 will be seriously overloaded by the 80,000 extra cars a day that will be used by air travellers (a BAA number) and the 13,600 staff cars for which they have created parking spaces. They also allege that the Piccadilly line is already seriously overcrowded. In isolation this is undoubtedly true but, compared with many parts of the rest of the network, the Piccadilly line (particularly west of Turnham Green) is not the most serious case. However, prolonged and aggressive lobbying on this issue has made the DETR, and indirectly, London Underground hypersensitive about this line in particular. Anything that might be said to add to this congestion, however marginally, is out of the question. Hence the bar on Turnham Green.

The DETR who are four square behind Terminal 5 and committed to what they call a "integrated transport strategy" are very anxious to counter suggestions that the existing public transport infrastructure is already struggling to cope. Therefore London Underground are under intense pressure to give priority to the Piccadilly line. It is conceivable that some of their funding is dependent on the performance of that line.

Some people have suggested that Hounslow Council, brimming with money to spend on transport from Section 106 (money paid as a condition of getting planning permission) payments from local property developments, will use a small portion of it to help London Underground fund a stop at Turnham Green. Forget it.

The council are officially opposed to Terminal 5 knowing the strength of local opposition. Their political heartland is in the areas worst affected by the airport. To support a stop at Turnham Green would undermine their case that the public transport links to Heathrow are close to collapse. They are not going to give money to London Underground to fund something that will upset the people who elected them. They are going to be quite happy to take the money that comes from allowing projects like Chiswick Park (and even the Pinnacle if they can get away with it) but the money isn't going to find its way back into the one thing that would go a long way to improving local transport infrastructure in a cost effective manner.

Over the next decade our quality of life in Chiswick is likely to deteriorate markedly. You could argue that the success of the T5 lobby shows how well organised activism by local people can achieve results (not that they will stop T5) but, with both national and local government essentially against a Turnham Green stop, this part of Chiswick's attempt to stem the tide is essentially futile.

Related articles:

Chiswick Chokes as Bureaucrats Bungle

Would you use the Piccadilly line from Turnham Green?

Is Turnham Green the Most Dangerous Station on the Tube?

40 Reasons Why the Tube should stop at Turnham Green



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Most of the articles on this site are contributed by local people.


Chiswick Chokes as Bureaucrats Bungle

  Would you use the Piccadilly line from Turnham Green

  40 reasons the tube should stop at Turnham Green

Is Turnham Green the Most Dangerous Station on the Tube?