Transport for London (TfL) has today advised passengers who use South Kensington Tube station that vital work to replace escalators starts in late February 2021.
It means that Piccadilly line trains will be not be stopping at the station from this date until early spring 2022.
The major replacement programme will see all five Piccadilly line escalators at South Kensington station replaced. The escalators, which were installed in 1973 and are at the end of their lifespan, have become unreliable and are the highest priority escalators for replacement on the Tube network.
South Kensington station will remain open for Circle and District line customers. Customers will be able to use these lines if they need to alight at the station or alight at Gloucester Road, which is an eight-minute walk to South Kensington. Detailed travel advice is set to be published in the new year.
The essential work will mean that the station, which before the pandemic saw almost 34 million customer journeys each year and provides a popular gateway to the infamous cultural attractions in the area, will have five new high-performing escalators for decades to come.
All work is set to be carried out according to the latest social distancing guidelines for staff and customers.
London Underground’s escalators are heavy-duty machines and are usually in operations in both directions for up to 20 hours a day. They weigh around 40 tons each and carry millions of people each year.
A typical 15-metre rise escalator has around 15,000 moving parts. Twenty-five of the new high-performing escalators of the same type that will be installed at South Kensington Tube station are already in operation at London Underground stations. They have also been installed extensively on the Elizabeth line.
Esther Sharples, Director of Asset Operations at London Underground, said: “Replacing the escalators will improve journeys through South Kensington station for years to come and give the station, which is an important gateway to some of London’s most famous cultural attractions, much improved reliability.
“At nearly 50 years of age, they are some of the oldest escalators on the Tube network and have come to the end of their life. I’d like to thank customers at South Kensington in advance for their patience while this work is carried out.”