The entrance to Victoria underground station. You may have seen it on the news. Closed, and surrounded by grumbling commuters. The scene is now synonymous with a failure on the network, be it transport strike, power failure or just too damn many ‘customers’. Victoria, you see, is London’s busiest Tube station during the morning rush hour. If the proverbial spanner goes anywhere near the works, Victoria takes the broadside, and gets gated off to prevent overcrowding.
Good news today, then, for the 35 000 people who (try to) pass through the hub every day. A major station revamp has just been announced by Transport for London, which will see extensive rebuilding of the ticket hall and concourse in a direct bid to solve the overcrowding. They’re also going to put in much needed wheelchair access between the various platforms and street level.
The scheme will reportedly cost half a billion and take from 2008 to 2013 to implement. Sounds like they’re going to get going as soon as the King’s Cross rebuild is complete. Though with terms like ‘over budget’ and ‘behind schedule’ still very much part of the engineering accountant’s vocabulary, we might be avoiding the Victoria Line come 2008.
Still, let’s not be cynical. Victoria needed something big, and this sounds like just the fillip. And encouraging news for fans of competence. The scheme will be funded from TFL’s pocket rather than the egregious Public Private Partnership.
Good stuff. Now can they please do something about the ticket queues in the mainline station?
Image (c) Transport for London 2005