New Northern Line stations spark criticism for ‘revolting’ change to tube map

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Users of London’s Northern Line celebrated today as two new stations were added, marking the first update to the Underground route in nearly a century.

But not everyone was thrilled with their appearance on the map.

“I’m a Northern Line faithful and happy to have brand new stations but MY GOD this is revolting.” tweeted prominent British playwright James Graham.

“The most elegant map in the world bent out of shape because private developers demand their floating pool be in Zone 1, warping space and time to do it,” he added.

Graham’s gripe with the additions of Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station to the TFL line is that they sit geographically outside Zone 1, but have been included in it regardless – making the zone jut out awkwardly on one side to fold the two stations into the central London area.

The “floating pool” he alludes to is the Sky Pool at the Embassy Gardens luxury development, which hit the headlines this summer when locals complained that only residents of the development’s most expensive properties were able to access it.

The development has become a symbol of the division between London’s luxury housing market and locals struggling to afford properties in the city.

Following the extension to the Northern Line, house prices in the Battersea/Nine Elms area are predicted to soar by 25 per cent in the next five years, with rents estimated to climb by 14 per cent.

But Graham’s grumble about the zoning of the stations is also down to more practical concerns.

“Travelling south now you go from zone 1 to zone 1/2 back to zone 1 again, then back to 2!” he tweeted in a subsequent reply.

Mr Graham wrote hit West End plays Ink and Quiz – the latter adapted into a popular ITV drama with Matthew Macfadyen and Michael Sheen in 2020.

Many transport fans replied disagreeing with the criticism, saying that Zone 1 on the official tube map still looks uniformly smooth-edged, whereas he had gone out of his way to note the quirk on the geographically accurate version of the London Underground network.

“20,000 new homes, countless jobs and apprenticeships, 15 years hard work, the first extension to the tube network in a generation,” said user @Philipnormal.

“We love the extension! But the map, oh the poor map,” wrote Graham in reply to another user who disagreed with him.

“I’m sure they’d be happy in Zone 2 where they belong. Or bring Oval into 1 which it clearly must be if Battersea is.”

Twitter user Josh Scully shared Graham’s distaste for the map’s irregularities, tweeting: “The outer areas of greater London have been bent out of shape this way for years as well. Stations like East Croydon and Bromley South are some of the busiest in the city, with no tube, and are forcibly put into Zone 5 because it rakes in more money to do so.”

Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms are the first new stations on the capital’s Underground this century – and the first additions to the Northern Line since the Clapham Common to Morden extension was unveiled in 1926.

The new extension will be served by Charing Cross branch trains only, with services running every 10-12 minutes initially.

The frequency will increase when the City branch of the Northern Line closes at Bank in the new year, for a project expected to last five months.


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