The first train on the new Northern Line route departed from Battersea Power station this morning, marking the completion of a £1.1bn project
The train also called at Nine Elms - another new station on the network - before reaching the existing Kennington station. The 2 new stations are the first major expansion on the Tube network since the Jubilee line opened in the late 1990’s.
The construction on the modern 3km twin-tunnel railway between Kennington and Battersea Power Station kickstarted in 2015 and despite the pandemic, the project stayed on track for an autumn opening.
Services on the extension started just before 5.30am, and an initial peak time of six trains per hour is scheduled, running from Kennington station on the Charing Cross branch, then increasing to 12 trains per hour by mid-2022.
During off-peak times, there will be 5 trains per hour, which will then double to 10 trains per hour the following year.
Despite the cost pressures caused by the pandemic, the Northern Line extension was delivered £160m under budget by TfL, bringing its estimated final total cost to £1.1bn.
Andy Lord, Managing Director of London Underground, said "it is with enormous pride and excitement that we welcome our first customers to our new Northern line stations today. This is the first major Tube extension we've opened this century and the first new stations to open on the Northern line for 80 years."
He added, "it has been a monumental effort during the most challenging of times but the opening of the Northern Line Extension could not have come at a more vital moment as London's recovery from the pandemic gathers pace and people continue to return to the Tube network for work and leisure."
Final preparations are currently underway, including new paving and landscaping work at the front of both stations, and commissions of ticket machines, ticket barriers and advertising screens.
The renowned Tube map has also been updated to include the two new Northern Line stations, bringing the total number of Tube stations up to an impressive 272.
Additionally, both stations are also step-free, meaning there are now 88 accessible stations on the Underground network.
TfL has estimated that the new services will support 25,000 new jobs and 20,000 new homes, with the construction itself having already boosted the UK economy, supporting around 1,000 jobs, including 79 apprenticeships.
Priscilla Smartt, Customer Services Supervisor at London Underground, Battersea station, said “working at a new Tube station from the day it opens is a once-in-a-generation opportunity."
She added "I can't wait to welcome customers through the doors and see the excitement on their faces as they discover our new stations for the first time.”
The opening of the new Northern Line Extension comes ahead of the Elizabeth Line launch, due to take place in the first half of next year.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said "after years of hard work, I'm delighted that we're able to open the Northern Line Extension today and it was great to have the chance to travel on one of the first trains between Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station."
The Mayor continued, "this extension will hugely improve the links between these vibrant, growing south London neighbourhoods and the rest of the capital, and will also help to support thousands of new jobs and homes as we move forward with London's recovery from the pandemic.
He added, "the new stations are beautiful and I encourage Londoners and visitors to start using the Northern Line Extension to get around and help them enjoy everything the capital has to offer."