Will these plans plunge the Northern line into turmoil? You can Bank on it.
Once more unto the breach, TfL, once more. The plucky folks at Transport for London are taking another wholehearted stab at improving the underground. This time, they’re risking life, limb, and sanity, by attempting to bring order to the lawless wasteland known as Bank station.
No longer will the station invite unwitting commuters into the dark tunnels, never to be seen again! By the time it finishes in 2022, the Bank redevelopment plan will upgrade capacity and generally improve customer experience. That is, if the malevolent evil that lurks within permits these interlopers to proceed…
Now entering a second year of works, the battle to upgrade Bank is being fought on many fronts. Up on the surface, Cannon Street will have a new entrance, welcoming more commuters into the belly of the beast. But down below is where the real action is. Bank is getting two new lifts, two new moving walkways, and twelve new escalators, which will provide the Northern line and DLR with step-free access. And one hundred new ways to get lost in the station forever.
Speaking of the tube line that we all love to hate, the Bank heist (as I’m proposing we start calling it), will actually reroute the Bank branch of the Northern line slightly to the west. This will give the line a shiny new tunnel and platform, and in turn will reduce interchange times and create more space. On the other hand, it has the potential to awaken slumbering demons left undisturbed for millennia. Swings and roundabouts, really.
Overall, the renovation of Bank will increase capacity by 40%, as well as making it less of an impassable labyrinth. However, as with all things involving Bank, the station will taketh away before it giveth. Station improvements will exact a heavy toll on those using the Northern line – namely, it’s going to fuck up our commutes for a while. From April to May 2020, the Bank branch will be closed in both directions between Moorgate and Kennington. This special kind of fun continues until August 2020 for southbound trains, whilst northbound trains will be running, but won’t be stopping at Bank.
TfL have vowed to make this right with more trains on the Charing Cross branch, and some admittedly rather vague proposals to review walking and bus routes. We’ve got until 2020 to plan for the chaos at Bank, home to some 52 million unhappy travellers each year. In the meantime, us Northern line folk have got the Kennington debacle to worry about. Who knows – by 2022, Bank station could be transformed from a nightmare to a dreamland. I wouldn’t hold your breath though.
Featured image: @theundergroundperson