|Weekday Olympia Tube Service Removed this Weekend|
As District Line Wimbledon branch gains extra trains
A new timetable introduced from this weekend will see London Underground (LU) go ahead with its controversial plan to remove what it calls the "lightly used" weekday serivce to Kensington Olympia.
However, travellers on other branches of the District Line to Wimbledon and Ealing are set to benefit from extra trains.
LU says the new timetable has been designed to improve its service for the 200,000 passengers who travel on the Wimbledon branch of the District line each day.
It says in particular, the removal of the poorly used weekday Olympia service will deal with bottlenecks in the Earl's Court area which currently hold up more than 20% of District line trains entering Earl's Court behind an Olympia train.
LU claims this wait in the tunnel, at one of the one of the most complex junctions on the Tube network, will be reduced, directly speeding up journeys for the 150,000 customers who are affected by delays at the station.
The changes will include five additional trains on the busy Wimbledon branch providing space for 4,000 extra passengers during the morning peak, more trains during the evening service with six trains per hour until 11.30pm and an additional train on the Ealing Broadway branch to get an extra 800 customers home during the evening peak.
LU says the changes were the subject of a major consultation exercise earlier this year, in which nearly 18,000 customers, local business and stakeholders took part, almost 80% of whom were in favour.
However, t he plans were opposed by many local people, and at the time Cllr Nick Botterill, H&F Council Deputy Leader, said: " TfL’s current plans will lead to winners and losers in the borough and, while the Wimbledon branch improvements are welcome, we do not see why people and businesses around Olympia need to lose out. Olympia is a major visitor attraction and we are concerned about the impact TfL’s decision will have."
As the plan is implemented, Howard Collins, LU's Chief Operating Officer, says: "The Olympia service will continue to operate during the weekend and we will also operate a special weekday service during the busiest events at Olympia."
London Underground also says passengers using Kensington (Olympia) already benefit from improved London Overground services, with four trains serving the station every hour carrying 600 passengers per train, and interchange to the Tube available at both West Brompton (District line) and Shepherd's Bush (Central line) stations.
Southern services will also continue to serve the station.
During the week customers can use nearby Barons Court or West Kensington stations, both of which are close to the Olympia Exhibition Centre, and regular accessible bus services to High Street Kensington, and step-free stations Hammersmith, Fulham Broadway and Green Park.
December 9, 2011