The Waterloo and City line is to close for five months next year for much-needed engineering improvements that will deliver increased reliability of services, an increase in capacity and improved journey times.
The improvements are part of Transport for London's (TfL) £10 billion 5-year investment programme to improve and expand London's transport network. The Waterloo & City line is 107 years old and tube bosses say that it urgently needs upgrading.
The line fails on average almost once a week, leading to unplanned closures and major inconvenience to passengers.
During the five-month closure – due to start on 1 April 2006 – the entire track will be replaced and electrical, mechanical, fire protection and communication equipment will be renewed.
Journey times will be reduced as a result of faster running times.
The Waterloo & City rolling stock will be painted in the Underground's red, white and blue livery. The trains were inherited from Network SouthEast who operated the line until London Underground took it over in 1994.
Seating will be re-upholstered, grab rails will be refurbished and improvements will be made to floors and windows.
The closure will also provide an opportunity to make improvements to the Waterloo & City
platforms at Bank and Waterloo stations.
"The Waterloo & City line suffers from constant failures and urgently needs upgrading," said LU managing director. "We have agreed to a request from Metronet to close the line for five months so that much-needed improvements can be accelerated to deliver improved reliability, increased passenger capacity, quicker journey times and a smoother ride."
LU has consulted with businesses and organisations that will be affected by the closure.
Brian Cooke, chair of the London Transport Users' Committee, said: "The Tube has suffered from decades of under-investment.
"If the Underground is to improve then, on occasions, there will have to be short-term pain to deliver long-term gain.
"Any closure will result in some degree of disruption to passengers but we are supportive of long-term closures as long as they are well planned, deliver the required improvements within the timescales outlined and viable transport alternatives are in place for passengers."
During the five-month closure, passengers travelling from Waterloo to Bank will be advised to take the Bakerloo or Northern lines to Embankment station, and then the District or Circle line to Monument station.
Detailed travel advice for passengers will be issued prior to the closure taking effect.
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