Above: One of the new TFL roundels beside the platform of Liverpool Street underground station.
You would have expected an international 24-hour city like London to have 24-hour transport. While it has had 24-hour bus routes on selected parts of the network for many years, there has never been a 24-hour tube service – until now.
On rare occasions – like New Year’s eve – the underground service has run trains later than usual for its late night revellers but there has never been a regular night service. Over last weekend a start was made on an all-night tube service – running only on the Victoria Line and the Central Line. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, took to the Victoria Line and boarded the first train to run on the new night service. It was a low-key affair which is his style. He kept well away from creating the pompous rhetoric of the the last Mayor. Khan made a minimum of comments and only posed for a few photos because he was being followed by journalists and photographers from around the world for the ‘epic’ journey. If you think that last sentence was a little ‘over the top’ it should be added that a Japanese news crew travelled 6,000 miles and back just to cover this story!
To celebrate the occasion of the start of the night tube, Transport for London (TFL) has had a new roundel designed. It is shown at the top of this article. They are in relatively short supply numbering only four in total. The roundels can be found beside the platforms of Oxford Circus, King’s Cross St Pancras, Liverpool Street and Brixton underground stations.
One newspaper reporter from the Independent decided to travel throughout the night on one of the two tube lines. Whether he made it up or it really happened I do not know but the following two lines were taken from his article:
Girl: “Ooo the Night Tube, I’m so excited!”
Boyfriend: “Babe, it’s just getting on the train but at a different time.”
As time goes by, other underground lines will also have a night tube service. If you are a ‘night owl’ and would like to know which lines and stations are providing the service, then head over to the TFL Website where all the details can be found. The provision of the night tube has been a hard-fought battle lasting several years. Only parts of the two lines provide this service at the moment and then only at weekends. What needs to happen is for the underground to run throughout the night on all days of the week and on all lines. People are working shifts throughout the night as well as throughout the day and therefore would use the trains if they were there. If London is really to become a 24-hour city, then its transport links need to reflect this. Then, of course, there is the DLR which needs to join in the 24-hour service – and the Overground. Well, one step at a time, perhaps.