TfL Announces Extra Trains on District Line Wimbledon Branch

But weekday Olympia service will be withdrawn

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London Underground (LU) announced today that proposed changes to the District line will go ahead following what it calls "overwhelming support" during a public consultation.

The changes will see the withdrawal of the lightly used weekday Kensington (Olympia) service and introduction of additional services on the Wimbledon branch.

London Underground says nearly 18,000 customers, local business and stakeholders took part in the consultation earlier this year and almost 80% were in favour of the changes.

The new timetable, which will come into effect in December, will reduce delays and provide capacity for an additional 4,000 passengers every weekday morning on the busy Wimbledon branch, which carries nearly 30% of District line passengers.

In the evening, there will be further capacity for more than 800 people on services to Ealing Broadway and an enhanced late evening service on the Wimbledon branch with six trains per hour until 23:30.

The District line Olympia service will continue to operate at weekends and special services will operate to serve major weekday events at the Olympia exhibition centre.

The announcement brought a sharp response from Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which held a public meeting in July attended by over 300 residents to discuss the changes. The council suggested that TfL bring forward the resignalling works scheduled to take place at the Earls Court bottleneck to allow the extra trains on the Wimbledon line as well as the retention of the Olympia service.

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.”

" Residents in the south of the borough have complained for years about being squeezed like sardines into stuffy carriages on the Wimbledon branch – so extra trains on this line are very welcome. However, these improvements should not come at the expense of people living around Olympia.

" We are disappointed that TfL did not think about innovative ways to keep both services running or, at the very least, bring forward mitigation measures that make up for the loss of the Olympia service. "

However Mike Brown, LU's Managing Director defended the decision saying: 'There was an overwhelming response to the consultation and we would like to thank everyone who took part.

" After taking into account all the responses we received, and in light of the benefits that the changes will deliver, we have decided to go ahead with the changes. These will come into effect in December.

" For District line customers the introduction of the new timetable will reduce delays across the whole line and, in particular, benefit the 150,000 passengers who pass through Earl's Court each day."

Tfl also points out that passengers using Kensington (Olympia) already benefit from improved London Overground services, with four trains serving the station every hour, carrying 600 passengers per train, with 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.

TfL adds that during the week passengers 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 St Kensington, and step-free stations Hammersmith, Fulham Broadway and Green Park.

 

September 28, 2011