Call for government to fully fund Piccadilly Line’s signalling upgrade

Assembly member Joanne McCartney has written to the transport secretary to demand the tube line’s signals be replaced, reports Kinga Plata

The Piccadilly Line in Oakwood and (inset) Joanne McCartney
The Piccadilly Line in Oakwood and (inset) Joanne McCartney

The government must “properly fund” the Piccadilly Line’s signalling upgrade, according to the London Assembly member for Enfield and Haringey.

Paired with upcoming introduction of new trains, the signalling upgrade could lead to a total 64% increase in peak services on the congested tube line.

But so far, only the new trains are fully funded.

First proposed in 2011, the Piccadilly Line’s improvement programme has seen Transport for London (TfL) pledge to deliver 94 higher-capacity trains to replace the current 50-year-old trains, with these set to become operational from 2025.

But without the signalling upgrade also being delivered – at a reported cost of at least £2.4billion – the new trains will increase the line’s capacity by only 23% during peak hours.

New signals would allow 36 trains an hour to depart during peak hours, compared to the current 24-27 per hour.

Joanne McCartney, who is standing for re-election to the London Assembly in May, has written a letter to Transport Secretary Mark Harper, calling on the government to finally fund the signalling upgrade.

McCartney said: “Our communities in Enfield and Haringey have had to live with a poor Piccadilly Line service for too long. The government has been twiddling their thumbs for too long. It’s time that they stepped up and funded the upgrade.”

The Dispatch has asked the Department for Transport for a comment in response to McCartney’s letter but has not received a reply.

McCartney added: “It is disheartening to witness the government’s repeated short-changing of TfL. Other cities have been given multi-year funding agreements but the government is treating London differently.”

Throughout the last 13 years the Piccadilly Line’s improvement programme has been on a bumpy ride, from being regarded as a priority, to being nearly scrapped as a result of falling passenger numbers during the pandemic.

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