Night Tube

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Night Tube
Locale Greater London
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 5
Operator(s) London Underground
Night Tube map


The Night Tube is a new service pattern that Transport for London (TfL) is planning to introduce across the London Underground system (commonly known as the "Tube") to provide nighttime services to travellers on Friday and Saturday nights. It was due to start in September 2015 but was delayed due to strike action. It is now reportedly due to start service on the Central and Victoria lines on 19 August 2016, with the remaining services to follow in autumn 2016.[1]


A Tube train entering the Lancaster Gate tube station
A typical Central line Tube train pulling into Lancaster Gate.

Since the London Underground's inception, the idea of running night-time Tube services has been difficult, mainly due to night-time noise factors, and the ongoing maintenance works that usually occur during the night. General mass upgrades to the overall London Underground network from the late-1990s onwards, along with large infrastructure improvements to stations and signalling, plus the building of Crossrail (with the future probability of Crossrail 2) which will have sections going underground to connect with the main London Underground system, have made the feasibility of introducing a limited night-time Tube services a reality.

The Bakerloo, Waterloo & City and sub-surface lines have yet to be upgraded and re-signalled, but it is expected that when the signal upgrades on these lines are complete, these lines will also have 24-hour services. Part of the London Overground (Highbury and Islington to New Cross) should begin Night Tube service by 2017, while the sub-surface lines and Docklands Light Railway are planned to begin Night Tube service in 2021.[2]


TfL announced in mid-2014 the introduction of the Night Tube. The initial plans are for a Friday and Saturday night service on a limited number of lines, with, on average, a train every 10 minutes or less, continuing from around midnight to 06:00 and into the usual morning service.[3][4][5][6]

Beginning with the whole of the Jubilee, Victoria lines, and part of the Central, Northern and Piccadilly lines, the service was planned to launch on 11/12 September 2015,[7][8][9] with the prospect of expansion across further lines in subsequent years. However, due to strike action, the start of the Night Tube was postponed.[3][4][5][6]

There has been acceptance among unions over the new terms outlined by TFL. A revised start date of 19 August 2016 for Victoria and Central Line services was confirmed by TFL on 23 May 2016 with the rest of the service to follow in autumn 2016.[10][1]

Services summary

Summary of the Night Tube service:[4]

Predicted benefits

TfL have estimated that the Night Tube will lead to the creation of 1,965 permanent jobs. The net additional output produced as a result equates to an additional £360m over 30 years (i.e. £12m per year). These include:[4]

  • An estimated 1,965 permanent jobs will be supported by the Night Tube - 265 through direct operation of the service and 1,700 indirectly in the night-time economy, taking into account impacts on London's night-time economy and the additional London Underground staff that would be required.
  • Time savings will be on average 20 minutes but up to an hour will be saved on some routes.
  • Standard business case shows that for each £1 spent on delivering the Night Tube, benefits will be £2.70.
  • Adding in wider economic impacts increases this benefit by £1.20 for every pound spent.

In addition to the above quantifiable benefits, other benefits TfL believe the service is likely to have an impact upon creating include:[4]

  • Reduced demand for illegal minicabs, thus improved safety in taxis at night.
  • Improved commuter journeys for many people who work during the night-time in central London but live further out.
  • Potential for longer operating hours for bars, clubs, restaurants, bowling alleys, cinemas, museums, art galleries, and other attractions.
  • Reduced congestion at stations after events at entertainment venues like the O2, as people are not in such a rush to leave to catch the last Tube as events finish.
  • Improved accessibility to Heathrow for passengers flying before 07:00 at the weekend.

Strike action

Members of several unions decided to take strike action in relation to the terms and conditions being offered by London Underground, largely regarding agreements specifically over the pay deal and hours worked by new Night Tube service personnel. Members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA), and Unite officially started the first 24-hour strike at 18:30 BST on 8 July 2015, and the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) drivers starting their 24-hour action from 21:30 BST on 8 July 2015, with disruption occurring several hours either side of the start and finish times. London Underground warned there could be no services on Thursday as a result of the walk-out. The strike affected all Tube lines and finished at 21:30 BST on 9 July 2015.[11]

A second 24-hour strike action by London Underground trade unions took place from 18:30 BST on 5 August 2015 until 05:00 BST on 7 August 2015, and there was no service at all on 6 August 2015.[12]

Three unions also threatened to strike on 25 and 27 August as of 12 August 2015, with talks being held to try to prevent this.[13] ASLEF decided not to participate in the planned strikes.[2]

On 27 August 2015 it was announced that the start date for the Night Tube has been pushed back due to ongoing talks about contract terms between trade unions and London Underground.[14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Night Tube services to start in August". BBC. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Tube strikes: London Underground drivers' union decides not to take part". The Guardian. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The future of the Tube – Transport for London – Night Tube". Transport for London. Retrieved 9 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "TfL 90993 – Impact of the Night Tube on London's Night-Time Economy – Transport for London" (PDF). Transport for London. September 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Night Tube map – Transport for London". Transport for London. Retrieved 9 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 "'Historic' new Night Tube service – Transport for London". Transport for London. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "'Night Tube' weekend service to launch in September 2015". BBC News. BBC. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "'Night Tube' gets September 2015 launch date". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Hargreaves, Ruth (24 September 2014). "London 'Night Tube' Start Date Announced". Londonist. Retrieved 29 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Tube strike: London Underground delays as strikes begin". BBC News. BBC. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Tube strike to bring London Underground to standstill from Wednesday - how will it affect me?". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 4 August 2015. Retrieved 4 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "All-night Tube service may be delayed". BBC News. BBC. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Night Tube start date postponed as talks continue". Sky News. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links