Northern Line Extension not the first this century!

batterseapowerstationroundel - Northern Line Extension not the first this century!

The headlines and social media have been shouting out some questionable facts ever since TfL announced the opening of the new Northern Line Extension on 20th September 2021. Most admirable among these claims are a number made which are wrong but the most notable has to be that the new extension is ‘The first extension of the Tube this century,’ also ‘the first on the Underground since the Jubilee line extension opened in 1999’ AND ‘The Tube map has been redrawn to include the first new extension to the London Underground this century.’ The answer to that is down the page if you haven’t sussed it!

Let’s have a quick look at some of those claims – a good number of experts too! Mind you they’ve been doing it a long time without even checking facts…

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Evening Standard on 3rd September 2021

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Evening Standard on 17th September 2021

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Metro on 17th September 2021

The BBC also made claims which were later deleted when Geoff Marshall queried it… the following is a screencap however as the tweet in question was later deleted.

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Geoff challenges the BBC on its claims. Source: Twitter

The BBC also made the claim Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms were the first tube stations on the Northern Line since the 1940s. Hardly when a brand new station was opened at Euston in the late 1960s!

The Mayor in 2015:

Nine Elms London in December 2018:

Lambeth Walker in November 2020:

Mayor’s Press Office in May 2021:

Sadiq Khan in May 2021:

London Mayor Sadiq Khan in May 2021:

Evening Standard on 19th September 2021:

Grant Shapps (Secretary of State for Transport) on 20th September 2021:

Heidi Alexander (Deputy Mayor) on 20th September 2021:

London Labour on 20th September 2021:

Building Design on 20th September 2021:

Amazingly the ‘first tube extension this century’ was prompted by a very important tube extension earlier this century! The Northern Line Extension was conceived in 2008 hot on the heels of the Piccadilly Line Extension to Heathrow Terminal Five!

And that was the other major tube extension this century! It wasn’t minor even. The Northern Line Extension is touted as being a major extension. So was Heathrow Five! Both are similar in terms of length. The Heathrow extension was a more difficult construction than the Northern Line too. Not only that it was far more necessary and no doubt more important than the Northern Line Extension too!

What is even more amazing is TfL themselves acknowledge the Piccadilly’s Heathrow Terminal Five line as ‘the first extension to the Tube network since the Jubilee line was extended to Stratford in 1999.’ (TfL Press Release March 2008.)

The Piccadilly’s Heathrow Five extension also had a number of firsts which unfortunately people erroneously attribute to the Northern Line’s Battersea extension as having been the first to use. Again its sad that experts make these claims too and one should take their authority at a stroke… perhaps more of that another time!

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