Report Deals Major Blow to Turnham Green Piccadilly Line Hopes
Limited current service to remain in place until full-time stopping introduced
No improvement to the day time service on the Piccadilly line at Turnham Green will take place until the next decade according to the report by Transport for London (TFL) following the recent consultation.
Campaigners for an improved service at the station had hoped that the announcement of the introduction of a full-time stop at Turnham Green when the Piccadilly line is upgraded would result in a gradual increase in the amount of trains serving the station in the interim. However, the report states that the present very limited service is the best that local commuters can expect for many years. The authors present the retention of the current service as a concession saying that the business case against a Turnham Green stop is overwhelming.
A Piccadilly line train speeds through Turnham Green
The consultation attracted one the highest number of responses (14,000 online) to a survey ever carried out by TfL with the majority of people in favour of a stop. The service will be introduced 'when the line is upgraded' but the report does not specify when that will take place. The earliest likely date appears to be 2022 but, given the record of slippage in the delivery dates of projects on the tube, it could be over a decade before there is any increase in the number of Piccadilly line trains serving the station other than the proposed 24 hour service at weekends.
Local MP Mary Macleod, is studying the report and is seeking to persuade TfL to start stopping Piccadilly line trains at the station at non-peak times in the short-term until the Piccadilly line upgrade is complete. She says she will continue to urge the Mayor and TfL on this issue.
Cllr Ed Mayne, cabinet member for community safety and regulation, on Hounslow Council said: “We now call on the Mayor and TfL to proceed with the Piccadilly Line upgrade with all haste – noting that, under the original TfL business plan, the upgrade would have been complete this calendar year and will now, on their current schedule, not be finished until the ‘early 2020’s’. West Londoners deserve better. ”
London Assembly member Tony Arbour said it was "imperative" that transport bosses push the upgrades forward at a faster pace than the current target.
"In addition, whilst it is understandable that peak services should wait for the upgrade work, I’d like to see evening and weekend Piccadilly Line services stopping at the station immediately instead of by 2015," he said.
TfL says the feedback in the survey suggests that there continues to be strong local support for changing stopping arrangements, but only a minority support for this from users elsewhere on the line.
A breakdown of the report shows that 99% of the 5070 Chiswick residents who responded are in favour. There were also big majorities in favour in Shepherd’s Bush and Acton plus an area which the report describes as ‘Twickenham’ but seems likely to represent responses from Kew and Richmond. The biggest number of 'no' votes came from the Ealing area although there were 2,823 from respondents designated as ‘all other areas’ - 61% of which were against the introduction of the stop.
TfL says; "However we recognise the continued frustration among those who wish for the Piccadilly line to stop for more of the day at Turnham Green station. The signalling constraints and the size of the train fleet mean that we are unlikely to be able to implement changes in the short term. TfL therefore plans to stop Piccadilly line trains at Turnham Green station all day once the line is modernised and we have a new and larger fleet of trains and a new signalling system. This upgrade is set to commence in 2019 with introduction of the first new train in 2022.
"In the interim, passengers using Turnham Green station will benefit from the upgrade of the District line. The introduction of a fleet of new larger and walk-through, air-conditioned trains will start this year and be complete by 2016.
"This will be followed by a new signalling system enabling a faster, more frequent and more reliable service from 2018. Additionally, the Piccadilly line will stop throughout the night at Turnham Green when the Night Tube network starts in 2015."
The full report from TfL can be found here
TfL has also stated that there is no benefit to changing the stopping arrangements to local business. TfL claim the potential impact on revenue – not including fleet or signalling costs – has been calculated as a loss of £1,495,000 per annum and that approximately 123,000 passengers per weekday would experience a longer journey time of 1-2 minutes. The 19,000 people who would use the Piccadilly line services at Turnham Green would only make an average saving of 3.7 minutes, although this figure is hotly disputed by regular commuters.
The report states, "The review of the business case, as it has in the past, has assessed that there is no justification in terms of overall customer benefit for extending Piccadilly line stopping times at Turnham Green station even when the train fleet size and signalling constraints are put aside. Indeed the business case shows there is no case for stopping the Piccadilly line at Turnham Green station at any time of day, including in the off peak, on any day of the week."
Concerns expressed about overcrowding at Turnham Green were dismissed with the report stating that during the busiest hour at Turnham Green station, an average of 1,623 people board eastbound District line trains headed into central London which was regarded as ‘sufficient space to allow safe passenger flow and waiting’.
"TfL continually reviews Tube timetables to ensure we are running the most efficient service. Although we recognise that stopping more Piccadilly line trains at Turnham Green would benefit customers using that station, we do not currently do so because it would mean decreasing the service to other parts of the Piccadilly line, longer journey times for customers passing through Turnham Green station and a potentially less reliable service for all passengers on the line (as trains would have less time at the end of their journey to recover from delays, reducing the chance of starting their next journey on time)."
Only 9 people responded by mail using the Freepost envelopes sent out by TfL to 2,500 homes around Turnham Green. Over 14,000 people responded online.
January 25, 2014