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London's Waterloo and City tube lines to remain indefinitely closed

·3-min read
A man looks at his mobile phone at a barriered entrance to a tube station in Waterloo station
No date has been set for the reopening of London's Waterloo and City line, which is London’s second-most intensively used after the Victoria line. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

London’s Waterloo and City tube line, which has been closed since lockdown restrictions were enforced in March, will remain out of use to the public for the time being, Sadiq Khan has said.

No date has been set for the reopening of the city’s tube line, which is London’s second-most intensively used after the Victoria line.

The line, which travels directly between Bank and Waterloo stations and is a key route for City workers, is the only one that has not reopened after lockdown.

The mayor of London said in response to a question from Liberal Democrat assembly member Caroline Pidgeon that the line will remain closed in order to focus resources on other routes.

“The Waterloo & City line and Central line operate a shared pool of train operators”, he said.

“The Central line is one of the busiest on the network, and throughout the pandemic, has seen a smaller decline in customer numbers than other lines, which has enabled Transport for London (TfL) to support the journeys of many people who are less able to work from home.

“As a result, TfL prioritised Waterloo & City line train operators to the Central line to ensure it can run a frequent and reliable service, enabling social distancing where demand remains comparatively high.”

Earlier this week the City of London’s policy chairman wrote to TfL’s commissioner for clarity on the line’s reopening.

TfL said it was continuing to closely monitor customer demand to inform its decision about when to re-open the Waterloo & City line, including monitoring daily arrivals at Waterloo mainline station.

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Deputy Alastair Moss, chairman of the City of London Corporation's planning and transportation committee, this week revealed that the Square Mile's local authority has written to TfL commissioner Andy Byford to raise concerns about the continued closure of the tube link between Waterloo and Bank.

He said: "We need to be very clear with TfL that we expect it to be reopened.

"And we want to – in the nicest possible way – put them on the spot as to what the trigger point will be for them to reopen that very important line for us."

It comes as TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT) are in continued talks with government ministers about a six-month funding deal to save it from financial collapse.

Bosses are negotiating a number of options, including a bailout that would guarantee services until April 2021.

Funding is likely to be worth between £1.5bn ($1.95bn) and £2bn, with some conditions attached to the deal.

It was reported earlier this month that a bailout would be provided in exchange for increased fares and curbing remaining free travel entitlements for pensioners and children. The government is also said to be demanding the extension of London’s congestion charge zone as part of the proposal.

The deadline was set to expire on 17 October, but the transport operator was granted a two week extension in an attempt to conclude discussions. The new deadline closes on Saturday night.

Watch: Coronavirus restrictions tighten in London