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2010: the year of transport misery

PUBLISHED: 09:45 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:40 07 September 2010

Long queues for buses are expected to be a common sight in 2010.

Long queues for buses are expected to be a common sight in 2010.

A YEAR of travel hell is on the cards for residents and traders who are furious at Transport for London s ill thought-out upgrade plans. As well as the ongoing weekend closures of the Jubilee line, the Bakerloo, Metropolitan and Overground

Susanna Wilkey

A YEAR of travel hell is on the cards for residents and traders who are furious at Transport for London's ill thought-out upgrade plans.

As well as the ongoing weekend closures of the Jubilee line, the Bakerloo, Metropolitan and Overground lines will frequently be closed on weekends.

Marion Scott, a resident of Rowntree Close in West Hampstead, said: "It is going to be absolute hell when the lines close all at once. It is going to be dreadful. It will be like living on an island with no way out."

To make matters worse the Euston to Golders Green section of the Northern line will close over two weekends in January and February.

While Transport for London is promising to spend millions of pounds on bus replacement services, there is concern that this will add to gridlock on busy roads.

Virginia Berridge, chairwoman of West Hampstead Amenity and Transport, said: "We are absolutely furious. No-one has even acknowledged that we have legitimate concerns. Tube Lines and TfL just keep blaming each other.

"2010 is going to be awful. And one of the worst things is the lack of up-to-date information on closures - there are no leaflets. We feel powerless and no-one is giving us a proper explanation."

Many traders fear the extra line closures, together with the already chaotic Jubilee line closures, will sound the death knell for their businesses because people will avoid the area altogether.

James Gregory, who runs a gift shop and a pub in West Hampstead, said: "I have been here for almost 18 years and I am looking to get out because of all this. I have had enough.

"The credit crunch is hard enough and the Jubilee line closures are devastating for business. The area is going to die - traders are already working all hours of the day to cope with the current conditions."

Ed Fordham, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, has been spearheading a campaign against the upgrade schedule for the past few months.

He said: "North-west London will be totally cut off. If the aim is to get more cars on the road then it will be successful. 2010 is going to be much worse for transport than 2009. I don't think there will be any travel in the new year for residents here. Some of the traders are literally almost in tears over this.

"This is about their family businesses and these problems matter. TfL seems oblivious to that."

The Jubilee line upgrade, which was due to finish this month, has been plagued by problems since it started in 2007 and closures are set to continue well into next year.

As well as weekend closures of the Overground line, the Gospel Oak to Stratford section will close permanently for six months to allow the upgrade to be completed in time for the Olympics in 2012.

A spokeswoman for Transport for London said: "Tube Lines have fallen heavily behind schedule and have failed to deliver the Jubilee line upgrade on time.

"We are pressing Tube Lines for a credible work programme to give traders and residents in Camden certainty about when the upgrade will be complete.

"We do all that we can to keep disruption to a minimum for our customers by investing millions of pounds in alternative transport, which includes running bus replacement services."

How the rail disruption will affect you

* The Jubilee line upgrade should have finished in December 2009 - now it is summer 2010, with 28 extra weekend closures.

* On most Sundays and many Saturdays until 2011 closures on the Richmond to Stratford Overground line. Work will also continue on the Gospel Oak to Barking branch until 2011. Extended closure between the Gospel Oak and Stratford branch in the first half of 2010.

* Upgrade of Bakerloo line starts in January with weekend closures over six months.

* The Metropolitan line upgrade will result in frequent weekend closures.

* The Euston to Golders Green section of the Northern line with closures over two weekends during January and February.


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