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First new London Tube line in 22 years as £1.1bn extension opens

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 20/09/2021 Stephen Wynn-davies For Mailonline
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Two new stations opened on London's Northern Line this morning in the first major expansion of the underground this century.

The new stops at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station today opened to passengers with trains running through Battersea Power Station from 5.28am.

It is the first major expansion of the London Underground since the opening of the extension of the Jubilee line from Green Park to Stratford in 1999. 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was today joined by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as the new stations were officially opened. 

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Transport for London hopes construction of the nearly 2 mile tunnel extension will help contribute to the capital's recovery from the pandemic.

The £1.1bn project to extend the line from Kennington to Battersea Power Station began in 2015 and was completed just a year behind schedule, despite a pause because of the pandemic.

Mr Khan said the extension, the first on the Northern Line for more than 80 years, is a 'step forward' in helping the capital recover from the pandemic, as well as helping the 'nation's economy'.

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TfL said the extension is supporting around 25,000 new jobs and more than 20,000 new homes as part of significant regeneration in the area around Nine Elms. The 40 major development sites creating the new jobs and homes are taking place between now and 2030.

In addition, TfL says, construction of the extension boosted the UK economy and supported around 1,000 jobs, including 79 apprenticeships.

Billions of pounds of investment have been pumped into the area in recent years, including through the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station and the building of a new US Embassy in Nine Elms.

The power station will open next summer after being transformed into a huge shopping, entertainment and office block - complete with more than 200 in-built apartments for the super-rich. 

The extension project also saw the 2.5km stretch of Nine Elms Lane and Battersea Park Road completely redesigned to make it 'more attractive, accessible and people friendly'. 

The Greater London Authority borrowed £1billion for the expansion, which will be funded through business rates from the local area and around £270 million of contributions paid by developers.

Wandsworth Council put £300million towards the construction costs and today councillor Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council and co-chair of the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, who has spent the past decade pushing hard for a new tube link to Nine Elms and Battersea, told the MailOnline: 'Travelling on the Northern Line Extension as it opened its doors today, and seeing excited passengers use these stations for the first time, is a once-in-a-lifetime moment that I will never forget.

'Wandsworth Council has always had huge ambitions for this area and we are delighted that our vision and planning to improve the connectivity of Battersea and Nine Elms has come to fruition.

'In less than 10 years we have achieved a fantastic new Tube connection for Wandsworth, transforming what was once a transport backwater south of the river.

'These stations will help our residents get to work and other parts of London more quickly, as well as opening up new opportunities for jobs and businesses in the capital.'

 The scheme takes the total number of Tube stations to 272. 

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The first train left Battersea Power Station at 5.28am on Monday and there will be an initial peak time service of six trains per hour on the extension, which will rise to 12 trains per hour by mid-2022.

There will be five trains per hour during off-peak times, doubling to 10 trains per hour next year. 

Both new stations are in Zone 1 and Kennington has become a Zone1/2 station, to avoid penalising those using it as an interchange.

It means customers going to and from central London will only pay a Zone 1 fare.

Those travelling between Kennington and the city centre will also see their single pay-as-you-go fare reduced to £2.40, regardless of the time.

The fare zone change also means that those who travel from Kennington towards Balham, Tooting and Morden will also not pay any extra as a result of the extension to the 36-mile line, a TfL statement said earlier this year.  

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Researchers at Savills estate agent told MailOnline the zone change in Kennington is likely to cause house prices in the area to rise as demand for homes along the south bank increase as a result of increased public access to Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea, an officially designated regeneration area.

Data shared with this publication shows the average house price in Kennington some 500m from the station between 2010-20 rose from £381,751 to £581,007, while house prices in Nine Elms - the site of the £750million state-of-the-art US Embassy - rose from £675,952 to £902,109 in 2015-20.

However a search on Rightmove by MailOnline found that multi-bedroom houses in Kennington cost as much as £1.3million and even £2.5million, while flats overlooking the Thames cost a staggering £3.5million - a sign that the area of the Northern Line extension could be an up-and-coming part of the capital.

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The Grade II-listed Battersea Power Station, a decommissioned coal-fired plant owned by Malaysian investors, has undergone major redevelopment as the site of more than 100 retail shops, restaurants and cafes, including tech giant Apple's new 500,000 sq ft London campus.

Eateries including Gordon Ramsay's Street Pizza restaurant, No 29 Power Station West, Megan's Battersea, Tapas Brindisa, Wright Brothers, Fiume, Battersea Brewery and Tonkotsu, were opened in the Circus West Village, the first phase of the power station development which opened in 2017, while much of the station has been converted into 253 apartments with some costing as much as £8.2million.

In the Power Station building itself, there will be brands such as Jo Malone, Hugo Boss, MAC Cosmetics, Space NK, Watches of Switzerland, Jo Malone, British heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua’s gym, BXR and The Cinema at The Power Station with others to be announced shortly. 

Dato’ Ahmad Pardas Senin, Chairman of Battersea Project Holding Company, said: 'The launch of the Northern line extension is an historic moment in British transport history and we are delighted to have been able to support and contribute to this pivotal infrastructure project, which is set to significantly enhance the connectivity of this part of London.

'This is a proud day for Malaysia and all those involved in transforming the historic iconic Power Station and its surrounding area, being the largest Malaysian investment in the United Kingdom into a new destination where people can live, work and enjoy.' 

Simon Murphy, CEO of Battersea Power Station Development Company, said: 'The launch of the Northern line extension is a major milestone in the regeneration of Battersea Power Station.

'Improving transport links and connectivity to this area of London has been fundamental to the development from the very beginning, and we are delighted to have played a key role alongside TfL and others in delivering the first major extension to the London Underground this century. 

'Seeing trains coming into the new station this morning was a very proud moment, which wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering commitment of our shareholders.

'As we countdown to the Power Station opening its doors to the public next year, we look forward to welcoming more visitors travelling on the new tube line from across the capital and further afield to enjoy the thriving riverside neighbourhood we are creating here at Battersea Power Station.'

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TfL is aiming to turn the 120-year-old Northern Line, which connects Barnet, Edgware and Morden with central parts of the capital and is in parts 200ft deep, into what it calls the 'black diamond' of London.

The extension was given the go-ahead in November 2014 by then Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and construction began the next year. Tunnelling started in March 2017 and finished later that year.

It has periodically run into problems, and stopped completely amid the spread of coronavirus in March 2020.

However, it returned three months later after implementing Covid-secure measures including social distancing.

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