/ Travel & Leisure

Can you cope with the Tube’s weekend closures?

Closed Tube doors

The London Underground will supposedly have scheduled closures every weekend until the 2012 Olympics. Have you had enough of this disruption? Or do you think nothing else could be done to speed up the works?

Can you imagine the London Underground without weekend closures? No? Well apparently there was a time when everyone skipped to the Tube and bluebirds told them to ‘have a nice day’.

Those wondrous days won’t return until the 2012 Olympic Games bless London with travel heaven. Actually, it’s not going to be heaven at all is it? It’ll likely be a right crowded mess – but at least we’ll be able to use the underground on the weekend!

Apparently the Tube’s going to suffer weekend closures on parts of its network every weekend until July 2012, according to figures obtained by the Evening Standard.

I like to call it London’s ‘disrupterground’. Only last Saturday I spent five hours trying to get to a party in North London thanks to a mixture of buses and walking. It would normally take two hours, but I instead faced journey times that would rival a trip to Manchester and back again.

Could Tube works be done any better?

According to the Standard we last had an undisrupted underground in 2007 – and sadly I wasn’t living in the city then. Since I’ve been here there have been breakdowns, signal failures and strikes – and of course, scheduled upgrades.

But have the Tube’s problems been blown out of proportion? We’ve got a pretty old Tube system and it’s going to need a lot of work to modernise it. Sure, the upgrades have been run badly in the past, but hopefully we’re now on the right track.

Still, I can’t help wondering whether there could be a better way to go about the works. Could they be performed at night on weekdays, for example? A London Underground spokesperson says that there isn’t enough time to do the works ‘during the four hours each night when trains do not run’.

What about closing sections of the Underground throughout the week, allowing plenty of time to properly finish them? Well, that’d probably make travelling to work a misery for many.

Do weekend line closures bother you?

In our previous poll about what winds you up most about London’s Tube (you can still vote in it below) ‘weekend scheduled closures’ came in third with just a quarter of the votes.

Surely this year’s weekend closures are starting to grate? From September 2009-10 the Hammersmith & City line has been closed for 112 days, the Metropolitan 110 days, and the Jubilee 84 days – and that’s just some of the worst offenders.

As long as there’s some kind of route for me to use, I can put up with weekend Tube closures. In the past I’ve had to suffer the closure of both the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee line, which left me stranded on the Isle of Dogs where I live.

Of course, there are busses and I have a pair of legs – maybe Londoners have it better than they think they do after all?

What winds you up most about London's Tube?

Too many people, too few trains (39%, 80 Votes)

Too many scheduled closures on weekends. (26%, 53 Votes)

The trains are hot and sweaty (24%, 50 Votes)

There are always daily disruptions (11%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 205

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They have to work on the Tube system sometime, God alone knows it needs it, but I gave up relying on it at weekends years ago. I take cabs or buses; or walk.

I’m with Phil, the Tube needs work and carrying out at the weekend makes sense – but it’s very annoying. My cousin was visiting from the States last weekend and he wanted to walk through the Greenwich foot tunnel and climb the hill on which the Greenwich observatory sits. It sounded to me like an easy day of sightseeing, but with the Circle Line being closed, and there being no DLR trains from Bank, it very nearly took the whole day.

James says:
17 January 2013

The weekend closures have paralysed the underground for years now. It is understandable that they have to to maintenance works and it may mean parts of the underground are closed from time to time, but when half the lines are closed or part-closed every single weekend, year-in, year-out, then TFL are doing a fine job in driving people away from the underground. I, for one, am fed-up of a half hour journey taking me twice that length of time due to all these endless maintenance works, and am in the process of looking to buy a car.