Good news for night owls and tourists: this Friday (Aug. 19) two lines on the London subway system will begin 24-hour operation at the weekend. Three further lines are scheduled to join them in the fall.
Trains on the Central and Victoria lines will now be running all night at weekends - on average every 10 minutes.
London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan sees big benefits for the British capital. Night trains will make the city even more attractive for tourists and businesses, he told the Guardian. "London is the theatre capital of the world, we have fantastic concerts, we have some of the world’s best restaurants and hotels," said Khan.
The London Underground currently shuts down every night between 1 a.m. and 5.30 a.m. There is a network of night buses available - but they often run behind schedule, and are far slower than the "Tube".
The authorities had originally announced plans to extend the subway’s operating hours back in September 2014. Protracted negotiations over pay and working conditions for staff, however, led to repeated delays.
Concerns about safety not being guaranteed on the "night Tube" have been dismissed by the operator. According to Transport for London, the police presence overnight will be at least as strong as during the day. Both uniformed and plain-clothes officers from the British Transport Police officers, it added, will be patrolling stations and trains.
The Central and Victoria lines are set to be joined by further train services in the fall. When exactly the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines will commence nighttime operation at the weekend has not been revealed.
fm / at (dpa)