The Waterloo & City line on the London Underground will reopen today for the first time in 15 months, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.
The decision was made to help increase the capacity of the transport network as London tries to find its feet following the pandemic. TfL explained the number of people using the tube had increased by more than 17% since May 17 and the line, which has been closed since March last year, is a crucial commuter link, connecting Waterloo and Bank Stations.
The Waterloo & City line will run every five minutes on weekdays, between 06:00 to 10:00 and 15.30 to 19:00. TfL explained this will provide extra capacity for those unable to compromise their work schedule and will give passengers the chance to stagger their journeys during the morning and afternoon peak.
Managing Director of London Underground, Andy Lord, said: “The reopening of the Waterloo & City line is a welcome step back towards normality for the city as well as for the rest of London.”
“I am proud of the fantastic work done behind the scenes that has enabled us to bring the line back into service sooner than projected, and look forward to customers being able to use the full network for the first time since the pandemic began.”
The decision was welcomed by Waterloo & City line drivers who played a huge role in fighting against the coronavirus, managing the extra services needed to ensure social distancing, and London Underground staff that worked hard to make sure that the line could be up and running as soon as possible.
Lord Mayor William Russell, who was also on board one of the first Waterloo & City line trains, added: “With the vast majority of our workforce commuting from elsewhere in London or further afield across England, it is of great importance that the city is accessible as we look to the next phase of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is an absolute pleasure to have had a taste of normality and to be back on board the Waterloo & City line today.
“We look forward to many more commuters soon enjoying this service as they once again make the journey to the Square Mile.”
To ensure passenger safety, special cleaning measures are in place and monthly testing by Imperial College London has been carried out since September, taking swabs that have shown no traces of coronavirus on the transport network.
Commuters are also being advised to continue to follow Government guidelines when using the network and to travel at quieter times, or consider waiting for the next service wherever possible.