Since the dawn of the Underground, Londoners has wished for trains that run throughout the city, throughout the night. Then, it was to make live easier for shift workers and those catching early-morning flights; now, it’s to make life easier for those who leave Fabric at 4am and want to get home quickly.
But whatever the reason, the age-old wish is about to come true, with the Night Tube – as it has been named – set to open is just a matter of months.
But what is the Night Tube? When does it start? Where can it take you? What will it cost? We’ve created the everything-you-need-to-know guide to London’s Night Tube, to help you get a head start.
IT’LL BEGIN ON AUGUST 19TH
After months of negotiations between Tube bosses and workers unions, it was finally agreed this month that the Night Tube will open on August 19th 2016. Right now, over 200 drivers are in training to make the vision of the Night Tube a reality, with the rest of the Underground staff also getting ready for the launch.
24 HOURS A DAY ON WEEKENDS
The Night Tube will only operate on weekends. With its intended use for the London nighttime economy, the Night Tube will run throughout Friday and Saturday nights, giving London a 24 hour weekend service to facilitate the late-night bars and clubs of the capital.
As the city continues to become more and more 24/7, it’s unclear if the service will be extended into the week — for both use by those traveling for work and flights as well as for the growing weekday nightlife.
TRAINS WILL RUN ALL NIGHT ON FOUR LINES
Throughout the night, five Tube lines will remain open. They are the Central, Jubilee, Victoria, Northern and Piccadilly lines.
Trains on the full Victoria and Jubilee lines will run on an average of once every ten minutes. These lines will connect clubbers with venues such as Mahiki and The Qube Project.
The Central line will have services once every 10 minutes between White City and Leytonstone, and everything 20 minutes from Ealing Broadway into the city. The Night Tube will offer no service between North Acton and West Ruislip, Loughton and Epping and Woodford and Hainault. This service will connect venues including Notting Hill Arts Club, G-A-Y Bar and the Electric Ballroom.
Every eight minutes, the Northern line will connect Morden with Camden Town, and High Barnet / Edgware every 15 minutes, passing by the many bars and clubs of Camden Town. They will be no service on the Mill Hill East or Bank branches.
The Piccadilly line will run once every 10 minutes connecting Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 5, but there will be no service on the Terminal 4 loop, or between Acton Town and Uxbridge.
YOU CAN USE YOUR NORMAL TRAVELCARD OR OYSTER
The Underground at night will be just like The Underground during the day, as you might expect. Use Apple Pay, Oyster or Travelcards to access the network, and pay the standard off-peak fare on all journeys within the Night Tube zone.
Importantly, it’s worth noting that Day Travelcards will expire at 4:29 on the day of travel, meaning that the Fare Cap is reset at 4:30am, and any Travelcards will be rendered useless. Plan ahead to make sure you’re not caused to pay twice.
IT WILL EXPAND
Much like everything else in the capital, there’s already plans for the Night Tube to expand, before it has even opened.
Services are said to be being considered on other lines and papers of the network, including the London Overground, which could be covering the east of London by 2017. Followed by the Overground, it’s understood that the Docklands Light Railway could be part of the Night Tube by 2021.
If true, that would mean that a majority of zones 1 and 2 will be covered by the Night Tube within the next five years.
BUT, IT HAS CAUSED A LOT OF STRIKES
As you’ve probably noticed, there have been a lot of Tube strikes in the past year. When you’re first on the Night Tube, just remember the suffering you went through on those hot, sticky Friday afternoons, in order for the Night Tube to come to fruition.
The plans were disrupted and delayed several times throughout 2015 due to the breakdown of talks between bosses and workers, in a disbute about night-shift drivers’ pay and working conditions.
An agreement was reached with drivers in March 2016, but the debate is still on-going to find an agreement for maintenance workers, who have also found issue with the Night Tube plans. Will this cause more delays? Only time will tell.
DESPITE THIS, THE NEW MAYOR IS A FAN
The Night Tube was the brain child of ex-Mayor Boris Johnson, but despite this, it’s one of the few areas he and Sadiq Khan agree on. Speaking in an interview, the newly elected Mayor said that the around-the-clock Underground was “absolutely vital” to seeing through his vision of creating London’s 24 hour economy.
“I have made getting the Night Tube up and running a priority, and London Underground has now confirmed that services on the first two lines will launch on 19 August,” he told The Standard.
“The Night Tube is absolutely vital to my plans to support and grow London’s night time economy – creating more jobs and opportunities for all Londoners. The constant delays under the previous Mayor let Londoners down badly.”
IT’LL BE THE BEST THING EVER. PROBABLY.
If predictions are correct, the Night Tube will basically be one big, long, underground night bus, with all of the thrills, spills and Wonderwall sing-alongs we’ve come to love (and hate).
Which can only be a good right… Right?