the Piccadilly Line Will Never Stop at Turnham Green
Article was contributed by a member of this site and
represents a personal opinion only.
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
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
Chokes as Bureaucrats Bungle
you use the Piccadilly line from Turnham Green?
Turnham Green the Most Dangerous Station on the Tube?
Reasons Why the Tube should stop at Turnham Green