Bank branch trains will not stop at Kennington station for sixteen weeks while Northern Line extension work is carried out, the News can reveal.
Trains travelling on the Bank branch will not stop at the station from May 26 until mid-September to allow four customer passageways to be built.
This is because the Victorian-era Bank branch platforms at Kennington are too narrow to allow the work to be safely completed behind hoardings while also keeping the platforms open, Transport for London (TfL) has said.
Walworth councillor Eleanor Kerslake said the news came as an “unpleasant surprise” to both her and residents, who had not been warned the platforms would potentially have to close despite raising concerns with TfL on numerous occasions.
“We’ve been raising safety in general for about four years and at no point did they tell us this sixteen-week closure would be a risk,” the Newington ward Labour councillor told the News.
“They said they would keep everything open so it completely blindsided local residents. It’s pretty outrageous and it’s incredibly frustrating.
“This will cause huge disruption that people won’t have been able to plan for at all.
“It’s a really busy station for people who live around there but also there’s a lot of people who change there and switch branches and for sixteen weeks it will put pressure on Elephant and Castle station and other stations.
“I will be asking them to provide written updates to residents and at a public meeting, and to bring forward the rezoning of Kennington station so it will became a Zone 1/Zone 2 station,” she added.
“We’ve always said this would be good compensation for residents who’ve had all this disruption over the years.”
Since the branch will not stop at Kennington, it means there will be no interchange for those travelling on the Northern line between the Bank and Charing Cross branches during this period.
A temporary timetable will be put in place, which TfL says will mean more direct trains to and from Morden on the Charing Cross branch approximately every ten minutes.
However, there will be a slightly reduced, and therefore busier, service on the Bank branch. The Victoria line will also be busier.
Kennington station will remain open for the duration of the work, with customers able to board trains northbound, via the Charing Cross branch, or southbound to Morden.
Stuart Harvey, TfL’s director of major projects, said: “We apologise to Northern line customers and to local residents for the disruption this will cause to their journeys.
“Running Bank branch trains through Kennington without stopping will allow us to build the additional passageways we need in the quickest and least disruptive way possible, and are essential to enable customers to access the new Northern Line Extension when it opens.”
Once complete, the passageways are expected to make it quicker and easier for customers to change between different branches of the Northern line at Kennington.
The Northern line extension from Battersea to Kennington, via Nine Elms, is expected to bring Battersea and surrounding areas to within fifteen minutes of the City and West End and is due for completion in 2020.
TfL said there will be more detailed travel advice in advance of the work starting to help customers plan their journeys.