Transport for London on Friday announced that it will be shutting down the Bank branch of the Northern Line on the London Underground between the stations of Kennington and Moorgate.
The closure will come into effect on January 15, and will last for approximately four months into mid-May 2022.
Four important stations will be affected by the closure – Bank, London Bridge, Borough, and Elephant & Castle.
The announcement left many Londoners who depend on that route to commute to and from work furious.
One particular commuter asked TfL on Twitter why they had chosen the early part of 2022 to commence work on the Northern Line when they could have done it during the lockdown, when the Tube wasn’t as busy.
“You’ve got to be joking right!? I use that all the time to go to London Bridge for hospital appointments,” wrote one Londoner.
“Why wasn’t work done last year when nobody was using the Tube?”
But TfL’s reply to the angry commuter, for many like him who continued to reply to the thread thereafter, was anything but satisfactory.
“Hi Ross, the work couldn’t be done last year because there was a pandemic,” the TfL’s Twitter account replied.
Ross for one was none too pleased with TfL’s answer to his question. “That’s a poor and easy excuse, I’m afraid!”
“You managed to get the Battersea extension done, which could have waited for this to be done first! As usual you do nothing to help your paying passengers.”
Ross was supported by a surge of Twitter users who also took the opportunity to pounce on the TfL’s seemingly half-hearted response.
“Which part of the pandemic stopped this work taking place?” asked one person. “Transport workers were key-workers. Trains still ran. Engineering work still took place.”
Another person remarked: “TfL has replied with the wrong answer! Tens of thousands of construction projects in the city of London proceeded to have activity in the pandemic period. The Government and TfL have done a lot of negatives to disrupt normal people’s lives. This can be added to the list”.
Others added their response with a hint of sarcasm. “Wow you’re smart, I’ve never heard the ‘cos covid. excuse in, ooh, at least the last 8 minutes,” said one.
Meanwhile, another Twitter user criticised TfL’s reply, saying it was written in a “snarky tone” that is “condescending and unnecessary”.
TfL has said that the work taking place on the Northern Line aims to “substantially improve the capacity” of the Bank and Monument stations, which together carry more than 120 million passengers in a normal year.
The interlinked stations will feature several new escalators, a new station entrance and more room for Northern line passengers, increasing the capacity at the station by 40 percent, TfL have said.
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The modernisation will include a new railway tunnel and platform for the Northern line that will reduce interchange times and create more space for passengers, step-free access to the Northern Line and improved step-free access to the DLR platforms, more direct routes within the station with two new moving walkways, two new lifts and 12 new escalators, and a new station entrance in Cannon Street.
TfL said the Northern Line between Kennington and Moorgateto needs to be closed to “connect new and existing sections of tunnel safely”.
Trains on the sections of the Bank branch that are still open will also run less frequently, TfL has said.