All change for Circle line in Tube victory

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Circle line victory

Redrawn Tube map means more trains and better service for residents as Hammersmith becomes the final destination for new Circle line.

One of the biggest changes to the Tube network in recent times will bring great benefits for local residents. The Circle line is being redirected to Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush in a move that should improve reliability and create more frequent services.

The extra capacity will help the 36 per cent of borough workers who travel by Tube – the highest proportion in London. Shoppers will also benefit as the number of trains going through Wood Lane station, next to the new Westfield mega-mall, is set to double.

From December, the current seven trains an hour on the Hammersmith & City line will be boosted to one every four minutes. Circle line trains will start in Hammersmith and run along the Hammersmith & City line to Edgware Road. From there, trains will complete a clockwise lap of the Circle line before terminating at Edgware Road. Trains will then reverse along the same route and finish their journey back at Hammersmith.

The Hammersmith & City line will continue to exist in its own right, running as far as Barking and Plaistow in east London. People using the line in the borough last Friday welcomed the news.

David Smith, 28, of Sycamore Gardens, Shepherds Bush, said: “If the Circle line comes to Hammersmith it will help commuters. At the moment, rush hour can be a real pain at times.” And Simon Richards, 29, who lives in Askew Crescent, Shepherds Bush, added: “I don’t use the Tube from Hammersmith because it takes ages to get anywhere. I only use it when I have to but a quicker service will probably change my mind.”

Underground engineers say the changes will also benefit the whole network by reducing the number of Circle line trains stuck in tunnels. The 14-mile line opened in 1884 and carries 75 million passengers a year but its shape means they often experience crippling delays when a train breaks down. Delays are worse on the Circle line because although the Tube map shows it as a single line it shares large amounts of track with the District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan routes.

Any disruption on these lines can cause delays to the Circle line. But Howard Collins, chief operating officer, London Underground, said: “The changes will improve the reliability of the line, enabling services to recover more quickly if there is disruption.”

The plans have been designed to accommodate new faster and longer ‘S-stock’ trains. The first of the air-conditioned, walk-through units will start rolling on the Metropolitan line from 2010, the Circle and Hammersmith & City from 2011, and the District from 2013.

H&F councillor Nicholas Botterill said: “Tube passengers could be forgiven for feeling that in the past they have travelled in circles, but this extension is a move in the right direction.”