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The Jubilee Line Extension and Southwark Tube Station 10 years on

On Friday 20 November the Jubilee Line Extension celebrated its 10th anniversary of full operation. Local MP Simon Hughes describes Southwark Station as his "most prized success".

Although parts of the JLE had opened in Spring 1999, it wasn't until 20 November – with a month to go until the opening of the Millennium Dome – that the through service was introduced from Stanmore to Stratford and Southwark Underground Station opened for the first time.

Earlier this month North Southwark and Bermondsey MP Simon Hughes told a Westminster Hall debate that the JLE was almost built without any new stations in the borough of Southwark.

"[Mrs Thatcher's Government was] in discussions with the people at Canary Wharf about paying for it, but the proposal that was the main runner was for the line to run from Waterloo to London Bridge and then directly to Canary Wharf without stopping anywhere in between.

"That case required private legislation, and I am happy to say that I blocked it for long enough to achieve what was needed. I later saw a memo that said something like, 'If we don't give in to the local MP, we're never going to get this line at all.'

"So I think that the most prized success of my political life has been winning two extra tube stations – one in Southwark and one in Bermondsey – at a cost of 25 million each.

"They are very valued stations, and it would have been a nonsense to have a tube line extension that did not stop to serve the local business and resident communities, and visitors. Fortunately, we were successful."

Throughout the last decade use of Southwark Station has continued to grow. In 2008 the station recorded 9.66 million entrances and exits, up from 5.803 million in 2003.

A 2004 study examined the change in property values attributable to the Jubilee Line Extension. In the area around Southwark Station Jones Lang LaSalle found an 'uplift' in land values in the region of 800 million.

Despite its prime location, the intended high-rise development above the new station has failed to materialise, and the hoardings around the station have provided a canvas for a range of temporary art projects.

The JLE construction process has left other legacies in SE1: the worksite at Redcross Way incorporating Cross Bones Graveyard has remained undeveloped and will now be used as part of the Thameslink Programme.

And it wasn't until last year that the old St Thomas' Church at London Bridge – which had been undermined by the Jubilee Line work – was finally stabilised and restored.

Now the RMT union has warned of 'serious risks to public safety' as it emerged that track safety patrols on the Jubilee Line Extension are to be cut from twice weekly to just weekly.

"There is a very real danger that if Tube Lines are able to rip up existing safety agreements and standards on the Jubilee Line that the rest of their tracks will follow with dire consequences for jobs and passenger safety," said RMT general secretary Bob Crowe.

For many months Jubilee Line passengers have endured seemingly endless weekend closures whilst work to commission a new signalling system is carried out. The new system, when operational, will enable a more frequent service to be provided.

Transport for London says that the upgrade will enable them to run a train every two minutes at peak times on the Jubilee line, providing a third more capacity over and above the 17 per cent increase that was achieved through the addition of a seventh carriage to each train at the beginning of 2006

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