Northern line disruptions set to cause chaos for traders

Traders and residents in Hampstead and Highgate face ongoing weekend tube closures when works on the Northern line begin this summer.

The first major disruptions will come in August with the start of an “essential” renewal programme to replace existing tracks and sleepers.

Transport for London say these works will require 10 weekend closures of either the High Barnet or Edgware branch of the line between October this year and February 2012.

The next significant upheaval will come in 2012 and 2013 when the Northern line’s signalling system will undergo a major upgrade.

During this period the High Barnet and Edgware branches will each close for four weekends – excluding the month the Olympics are being hosted.

There are also plans for partial closures over another eight weekends, which will mainly affect the High Barnet branch.

And there will be a further six part closures during the Easter and Christmas holidays for four or five days respectively.

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In addition, there will be late starts on the Northern line to allow work to be finished during the Saturday night engineering hours.

From October this year services on the High Barnet branch will start from 8.30am on Sundays through to November 2012, with the Edgware branch following suit from this date to November 2013.

TfL claims the works – due to be completed in 2014 – could have been much worse if they had stuck to Tube Lines’ original plans of 65 weekend closures.

But Highgate estate agent Chris Underhill said this initial figure was likely to be an “over quote” to take the edge off the announcement this week.

He added: “We knew it was coming – it was just a question of when and how much.

“If it’s got to be done it’s better that it’s over weekends when it’s easier to manage.”

Meanwhile, London Underground managing director Mike Brown promised that lessons had been learned from the disastrous Jubilee line upgrade – due to end next month.

He said: “Working with our signalling contractor Thales, we’re adopting a new and innovative approach which means we will be able to greatly reduce the disruption to our customers and businesses along the Northern line.”

Mr Brown said the improvements to the Northern line, the busiest route on the tube network, will speed up journeys and accommodate 11,000 more passengers an hour.