Thursday, 16 June 2011

Have your say on District Line changes

Residents have more time to have their say about proposed changes to the District line in the borough, due in no small part to our Council standing up to TfL.

Transport for London (TfL) wants to increase capacity on the Wimbledon branch of the District line, through Fulham, by scaling back services on the “under used” train to Olympia. The plans have provoked reactions ranging from absolute fury to people basically agreeing with it on this blog so it's fair to say opinion is mixed.

One reader called Pete writing on this blog in March said:
"I could be wrong, but is this really a blow? Sounds like common sense to me - the service was so crap /infrequent that I can't believe many "local residents" really used it".
 But another called Jimmie Smith retorted:
"You may not live here and you may not visit but for those that do this is a vital link as there is no other easy way of reaching Olympia from Earls Court and the rest of the district line".
Hammersmith & Fulham Council says it understands the urgent need to improve services on the Wimbledon line but does not want it to be at the expense of the Olympia underground service.

Now residents, local businesses and any other affected groups or individuals have been given more opportunity to let TfL know what they think after the consultation period was extended until June 30.

Councillors met with TfL bosses last week to insist that any reduction in the number of services to Olympia must be balanced with improvements that make-up for the loss.

Councillor Nick Botterill, a local Top Tory who has on several occasions responded quickly to issues affecting the Bush, said:
“While many people support the plan to lay on more trains through Fulham the council does not believe this should be at the expense of people living in Olympia.

“I am glad TfL have extended their consultation period because it is vital that everyone affected by this possible change has the chance to have their say.

“We will continue to work closely with TfL to make sure residents get the best possible deal.”
In the coming months the number of off-peak Overground services to Olympia will increase from three to four an hour. The council has demanded further measures if the underground service is withdrawn including additional buses and new signage to identify alternative transport links.

TfL says it will ensure visitors to major events at Olympia do not miss out after agreeing to continue to serve the exhibition centre at key times to ensure its continued success and prevent major traffic congestion in the area.

If the District line service to Olympia were to be withdrawn it would be re-instated in 2018 when a full upgrade of the line, including signalling upgrades to Earls Court and new air conditioned trains, is complete. Lucky us.

Richard Parry of London Underground said:
“This District line is one of the busiest on the Tube network, used by 700,000 people a day. There are major benefits, especially for customers who use the Wimbledon branch with an additional five trains during the morning peak.”
 To have your say on the District Line proposals call TfL on 0845 330 9880 - and full marks to H&F Council on this, they appear to have been getting at least some movement from TfL.


  1. Not so very long ago, the service only ran to Olympia during major exhibitions. It's hard to believe people have built their whole lives around it. The Wimbledon service, on the other hand, could really do with some help. Maybe this is a price worth paying.

  2. I agree, it is a bit of a ghost train. There is also an overground service at Olympia which can take people to Shepherds Bush or West Brompton in a couple of minutes, not to forget very frequent buses to High Street Ken and Hammersmith.

  3. I agree with boosting train services on other heavily congested routes during the peak hours.

    With London underground running 4 trains an hour for most of the day (since 22 may timetable change), 7 days a week, Kensington Olympia now has a far better service compared to a few years ago. With the added shepards bush station there are now connections in both north and south directions for central london.

    It does seem a bit strange though not to leave the shuttle running during off-peak... but then again that comes down to cost of mostly empty trains during the middle of the day.