Northern Line Ho!

One of the problem with being in an relatively small industry which doesn’t move that quickly is the difference between rumour and news is vanishingly small. If you hear job ‘x’ is going to happen then chances are it will, at worst you will have heard that of a friend of a man working on the job and the chain is just to short for Chinese whispers to distort things.  As such I’ve been aware for ages about the Northern Line extension and just sort of anyone who cared was as well, however my most recent trip to the pub has disabused me of that impression. So what is this plan? I will reveal it through the medium of fairytale;


Once upon a time a loveable band of Irish rogues with the intoxicatingly charming name of Treasury Holdings Group decided the best way to invest their pot of gold was in turning Battersea power station into a shed load of new homes, not for the locals obviously but anyone else with enough money. To do this they brought the site from the somewhat more excitingly named Parkview who were, in all fairness, a bunch of dodgy shysters with possibly the worst scheme ever seen by people with eyes.

Realising the scheme was rubbish Treasury scoured the world for a genius architect, sadly they couldn’t find one and instead went for Uruguay’s finest on the assurance that this time he would design something that wouldn’t collapse or be late and over budget or indeed over budget and late. They also got assurance for good luck from some magic pixies as they’d be about as much good.

Working late into the night the South American maestro produced his master plan;

The enormo eco doom

Sadly the good people of London told him to stop being so stupid and do a proper job. The crushed Latin impresario trudged back to his crayons and produced a second, saner scheme which the good people of London didn’t laugh at.

With sanity restored Treasury had but one task, to get some transport links secured so they’d be allowed to build it. With this in mind they sought out the Ruler of London, the brave newt-slayer Lord Boris of Crickey. Lord Boris decreed it would all be OK provided they built a tube line to the power station and that no public funds were used. In a later decree he said the local business folk would be permitted not to pay the CrossRail levy as long as they paid the Tube levy instead, whether you think that counts as no public funds probably depends on whether you read the Guardian or not.

So there you have it, a Northern Line extension out of Kennington, through the exciting Nine Elms (soon to be home to the US embassy) then onto Battersea. If the actual development is happening I really can’t say, certainly the planning permission is in but then we’ve been here before at least twice. On the tunnel side even as I speak half a dozen chaps are designing a tunnel and have been for a good few months, there are also countless others doing all the other minor issues such as signalling and stations. The Transport and General Works Act application is going in November(ish) as I understand it, certainly that’s the deadline floating around, so the developer is spending a lot of money on this. Hiring a full design team for almost a year to take a proposal to TGW level really isn’t cheap, as in millions of pound not cheap.

Of course in the context of a £4 billion pound development (plus another £150 million to restore the power station) and an extra £350 million for the Tube extension it’s not a lot, but they could get the planning permission for the site without getting TGW approval. If it is just another pump, plan and dump scheme to inflate the land price up before flogging it they are going a funny way about it. On the other hand those figures may not be totally accurate, I’ve already heard rumours the total price is drifting nearer to £5 billion as all the extra costs start piling up.

One to watch if you give a toss about London Transport south of the river, given that is a fairly specialist audience I’m guessing no-one reading this does. Still too late now I’ve typed it.

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