London Underground’s first major line expansion this century has opened (discounting a new station at Heathrow in 2008).
Two new Northern line stations opened in south London following a £1.1 billion project.
The first train on the new route departed from Battersea Power Station at 5.28 am.
It called at the other new station, Nine Elms, before reaching the existing station of Kennington.
London mayor Sadiq Khan says the services will play “a major role” in the capital’s recovery from the pandemic by “supporting thousands of new jobs, homes, and businesses.”
This is the first major expansion of the Tube since the Jubilee line was opened in the late 1990s.
The Greater London Authority borrowed £1 billion for the project, which will be funded through business rates from the local area and about £270 million of contributions from developers.
Major construction on the two-mile twin railway tunnel between Kennington and Battersea began in 2015.
There will initially be a peak-time service of six trains per hour, falling to five per hour during off-peak periods.
Frequencies will be doubled by the middle of next year.
TfL estimated that the new services will support 25,000 new jobs and 20,000 new homes.
Billions of pounds of investment have been pumped into the area in recent years, including through the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station for residential and business use and the building of a new US embassy in Nine Elms.
The opening of two new stations will bring the total number on the network to 272.
London Underground’s first major expansion this century demonstrates how the capital must “play its part” in the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has claimed.
Mr. Khan, who has been embroiled in a long-running row with the Government over funding for Transport for London (TfL), said he was “proud and grateful” to be joined by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on one of the first trains to serve Battersea Power Station.
He told the PA news agency: “It’s great to see the difference teamwork makes; it’s great to see the difference investing in infrastructure makes in relation to unlocking jobs and homes.
“Most of the things we’re using today were built around the country. Every pound we spend on the Underground, 55 pence goes to the rest of the country.
“That’s good for the Secretary of State to see. I’m quite clear; you don’t make our country more equal by making London poorer.
“If we’re going to get a national recovery, we need London to play its part.”
Mr. Khan has repeatedly called for the Government to give TfL a long-term funding package as its finances struggle to cope with the collapse in fares revenue during the pandemic.