Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

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Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby balhambloke » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:31 am

Hi, I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this but I wanted to share my utter frustration and raise awareness of the state of the Northern Line service. I know the Northern line is well known/joked about for being a bit of a disaster to Londoners but I have noticed a significant worsening since the start of the year which has meant my carefully planned 30 mins morning commute to the west end (when everything is working) is most often taking double that.

Let me put this is perspective, I’ve lived in the area for 18 years and have used the line daily at varying times of the day so I’m pretty sure I’m a decent reference point. I’ve adjusted my commute in the morning over time to leave earlier and generally have found you can squeeze onto a train at Clapham South (my station) if you are there prior to 7.30am approx. This strategy has gone out of the window this year! On several occasions, there have been queues of people backed outside the station as the station closes temporarily to avoid overcrowding (oh the irony). I’ve had to resort to regularly getting a southbound tube once inside to Balham or Tooting Bec to even stand a chance of squeezing on a train. I noticed it at the start of January and thought it might’ve been temporary so tried to have patience but it’s become a frequent occurrence.

About a month ago, I had a Tory campaigner knock on my door (who couldn’t answer any of my broader questions but that’s another topic) and give me a leaflet about cancelled upgrades to the Northern Line in 2018 and they pretty much blamed it on the Mayor using funds for other things as he concurrently increases fares.

I found this online and wanted to share:

I’m not too sure who is providing facts/fiction but I know one thing for sure - the morning northern line service has deteriorated significantly in recent weeks and is causing a lot of hassle to a lot of people. I wanted to raise awareness and make sure people who share my view sign up to the above and make the issue more widely known. I find it mind boggling that improvements on other lines such as the Victoria line haven’t been replicated on what I believe is the busiest tube line over the last few years - I hope it’s addressed at some point in my life!!! Another interesting link to leave you with to show you what we have to deal with: ... nes-ranked
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby jg75 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:52 pm

Signed! Thanks for pointing out. The Northern Line has definitely got worse. I get on at Tooting Bec and have had to go backwards to Colliers Wood/South Wimbledon to get on the train at times. That is how bad it is. There are a number of housing developments at the end of the northern line that have recently completed and in my opinion that is putting strain on the tube.
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby boonkoh » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:00 pm

As with all things political, it is not known what is fact or fiction.

- TFL were due to buy new trains for the Northern Line, to start running from like 2020/2021 or something like that
- These plans were postponed recently. I can't find the exact article I read, but I think it was on London Reconnections, where it was discussed in great depth.
- There are still concrete plans to increase the capacity from 30 trains per hour in peak time to 32 tph. But the completion of the upgrades is only scheduled for 2019. So we're not going to see any improvements this year.

Could be fact, could be fiction:
- Is the mayor to blame for cancelled new trains? Maybe. But it could also be due to falling ridership across the network (TFL have less money now from fares), and also competing priorities/projects elsewhere.
- It also feels to me that the Northern Line has gotten much more congested in the last two weeks. Could be the January effect (everyone back at work). Could be more than usual service disruption on trains, so more people getting on at Balham?
- And I also feel that because its so cold, people are wearing thicker coats, so more space being taken up in the carriages.
Balham resident since 2011, Editor of
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby lemondrizzles » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:17 am

I live in Wimbledon chase so i very guiltily get on a Morden. There are a few issues but some are.

_ Trains at Morden use to start a minute apart, now it's three minutes so by the time they are further down the line, they are more full
_ They need to consider running a few empty train services that start at Clapham South. I also think this is true of the over ground Clapham junction. This would ease congestion and improve passenger safety. I respect those who strike but when i hear they are striking for passenger safety, i always think, "and running a few empty train services at peak times that start a few stops before highly congested stations would improve safety", i never quite see any campaigns for it...

Only more people are going to move to our areas so more trains and more frequently are great but where are you starting them from?
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby Y737 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:37 am

Is there an official group to address northern line problems with TFL/mayor’s office? I try to get on at Clapham North - which is virtually impossible after 7.15am on working days. No- one at TFL seems to be trying to resolve this problem: for example, would it help for some tubes to stop only at certain tube stations, so that there is still space by the time some tubes reach Clapham? One thing’s for certain, it is not fit for purpose for the Clapham workforce. What’s the best way forward to gain the Mayor’s/tfl’s attention?
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby Victorbou » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:48 am


I leave in Balham and I can see in the morning people coming from the train station to the tube.
There is at least 5 Southern railway trains arriving between 8am20 and 8am30 where everyone is taking off to get the tube in Balham. Usually trains are delayed and arrived together that's why also the northern line is getting overcrowding so easily.
An underground train has a lowest capacity than a overground train and TFL can't absorb the flux of users coming from Southern trains...
I think Southern should review their timetable because it is creating issues on the tube.
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby chorister » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:28 pm

There's an article on today's (12 Feb) Financial Times about TFL's financial problems with the tube, referring to deferred investment on the Northern Line. Basically unless you can come up with the odd £1bn to close their deficit there doesn't seem to be much that can be done about. It certainly doesn't all seem to be the mayor's fault (in fact his fare freeze may have slowed the decline on passenger numbers), though predictably the Tories in City Hall are ranting about it. If only we had some grown ups as politicians ....
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby sgmitch » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:44 pm

I am both frustrated and curious about the topic of crowd congestion etc. I also try to see it from the supplier side including the TFL budget, train capacity etc. I don't see the trains getting any longer (considering the platform is fully utilized). Skipping stations seems interesting except there is only one line of track so empty trains can't really get farther ahead. And if they're already running 30 trains per hour, think about how many more trains they need to run 32 per hour. That is a large capital investment not to mention salaries for additional train operators.

I'm usually impressed by how incredibly reliable and regular the tube is despite the fact that we all love to complain. And I'm always struck by how empty the tube can be during off hours compared to rush hour. And the rush period really doesn't seem to be all that long (about an hour or two twice per day) despite a quite wide (in my opinion) definition of peak times: ... peak-times
Peak fares apply Monday to Friday (not on public holidays) between 06:30 and 09:30, and between 16:00 and 19:00

How busy is the Northern Line between 6:30 AM and 7:00 AM? And how busy it it from 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM? Whenever I'm crushed into a tube I'm always wondering how many of these people absolutely have to be on here at this time and what would happen if they offered yet another tier of fare to help spread out the demand. Irregular demand is difficult and wasteful for both the user and the supplier. Does anyone think that spreading out the demand with an extra high peak fare would be a solution (say 7-8:30 AM)? Those with slightly more flexibility could travel at different times and those paying extra might have a little breathing room.

Just curious what others think.
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby firsttimerSW11 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:01 pm

I get on at 8.15am at Clapham Common. It doesn't get much worse (the sole exception being Clapham North at 8.17, I'd say). If you're not backed up outside the station then the platforms are jammed. However, I have no problems with personal space being evaded for the two stops to Stockwell so I always manage to jump in as most people refuse to throw themselves in whereas I have no shame. But it's no fun, especially if you happen to be stuck beside the person who neglected to brush his/her teeth and literally cannot move your head/limbs.
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby Marmot-in-london » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:47 pm

I agree when I do use it I jump in and always am amazed how everyone stands right by the door instead f moving up the carriage.
You are right how can people leave the house in the morning without the most basic of personal hygiene??? At least I have cleaned my teeth and had a shower :)
If people spent less time on their phones and more in time in front of the mirror with some water we would all be happier :)
a use of Nappy valley net will it make people think???
I usually cycle much nicer but I agree not for everyone though you can research quite routes
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby Sloaney Pony » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:41 pm

Not fun ...

... Sadiq froze fares when he should have raised them

Creates more peak time demand and means less money for upgrades

Tory party have had to deal with chronic underinvestment from Labour in transport (last major new line to be built was under the Conservatives ... Jubilee line).

Answer is to not vote for Labour in future.
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby Jen66 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:52 pm

If Clapham North is your station then why not get the bus down to Stockwell and board there? As others have said you cannot board a rush hour train at Clap North.

In my experience the rush hour trains are full from Tooting Broadway. I (at Balham) often have to travel back two stops to get on.

The bus from Clapham North to Stockwell is bus lane all the way and pretty quick. The Victoria Line is ok at Stockwell as it's only come from Brixton (one stop down) and the Northern line is better because there is a big empty out at Stockwell.
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby Ex Clapham resident » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:11 am

I really feel for you all. I spent 14 years in Clapham- mostly travelling up the Northern line from Clapham South. Even back before we had the huge increase in population it was bad. Despite the fact the trains are a lot better now and there are more of them, it’s just not enough to cope with the extra demand. The problem is the same with the roads. Sadly it’s going to get worse as it can’t keep up with the increase in people living in the area.
My solution was to move to South Wimbledon and I actually look forward to my commutes now! I always get a seat at 8:15 and do feel very sorry for everyone trying to get on further up the line. I couldn’t do it now I’m 20 years older!!
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby Calaya » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:12 am

TFL is suggesting we should walk instead of taking the tube :lol:

Thank you for your email.

We have now received a response from Transport for London (TFL) in regards to the issues raised about the Northern line. Please see below:

Marsha de Cordova
Member of Parliament for Battersea
Shadow Minister for Disabled People
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

( TFL's response)

We are very aware of concerns about Northern line services from Clapham South and the surrounding stations and are working to address them. As you will know, there are many pinch points across the Tube network, particularly during the morning and evening peak periods, including the southern end of the Northern line.

Last month, we introduced a timetable change on the Northern line which has provided more frequent services and quicker journeys for customers, including those travelling to and from your constituency, during the evening peak period. There are now 24 trains an hour on both central London branches of the line and 30 trains an hour on the Kennington to Morden section between 5pm and 7pm.

We are also working on options for increasing services during the morning peak to address the concerns that you have highlighted in your email.

While this work continues, we are encouraging customers to consider the following options, where it is possible for them to do so, in order to make their journeys more comfortable:

• Retiming their trips to avoid the busiest times at Clapham South station. The busiest times at this station can be found at: ... nd-station
• Using a less busy alternative station to start their journey during the morning peak
• Using a combination of walking and bus to make their journey.
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Re: Northern line morning woes / Conservatives campaign / Massive rant!!!

Postby sgmitch » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:51 am

The link they offered showing busy times is probably the most valuable piece of information from the reply. I'm not sure what units the y-axis represents but if this graph is to be believed, we're talking about a period from 7:30 AM - 8:45 AM that it's complete mayhem at Clapham South. Would charging higher prices during those times not help to spread out the congestion?