An open letter to the Central Line

As a daily commuter on the Central Line this is addressed to all those responsible for the management and running of the line.

The Central Line is one of the most important on the tube network.  On a daily basis it carries hundreds of thousands of passengers who complete a total of approximately 260.9m journeys a year.  It is the main arterial route through Central London linking Epping in the East to Ruislip in the West and delivers passengers to important areas such as the City of London and the West End.  For many people it is their only way of travelling into Central London.

A key question then is why is the service on the line so bad.  The current situation is that there are daily delays ranging from minor hold-ups to complete cessation of service.  The trains are dirty, unbearably hot and frequently so overcrowded it is difficult and sometimes impossible to board.  Every time you use the service there is this constant nagging anxiety about what dramatic incident is going to occur.  This dire situation has been going on for day after day after day.

I know that people across the capital and around the country face a difficult daily commute but surely travelling on the Central Line has to be one of the worst?  This awful situation leads to considerable stress, anxiety, lateness, increased workloads, loss of pay for freelancers, lack of time with children and loved ones, reduced leisure time and many other negative effects on those who have no other choice but to use the line of doom.  And this goes on day after day after day.

As well as affecting individuals this situation affects businesses.  There are huge Westfield shopping centres at each end of the line, not to mention Oxford Street and the West End in the middle.  People can’t spend money in shops they can’t reach.  Audiences can’t attend theatres they can’t get to and won’t eat in restaurants or drink in bars if it is a nightmare to get home.  Spectators won’t attend events in a world-class venue such as the London Stadium if they feel they can’t get there safely.

This state of affairs cannot continue.  Something must be done.  Transport for London, the Mayor of London, Central Line management and staff as well as passengers must all come together to address the problems and find innovative solutions.  This needs to start now, today, for the sake of everyone who works on and uses the Central Line.  To allow the current dreadful situation to carry on is a huge national embarrassment for the greatest capital city in the world.

4 thoughts on “An open letter to the Central Line

  1. Michael

    Commuting from Woodford to Bank, I could not agree more with this campaign. I have a 4 month old son, with an early bed time, who I can only see on Friday due to work commitments (my typical day finishes at 6:30pm, with an early Friday finish). I have missed his Friday bath time 6 weeks in a row owing to severe delays on the central line, despite leaving within a respectable window. The ‘service’ is a disgrace, and has cost me £200 plus in taxi services. I would be embarrassed to ask my clients to pay for such a degree of under delivery.


  2. Pingback: Campaign to #improvethecentralline – The Wanstead Post

  3. Paul Norfolk

    I’ve been using this line for 33 years from SW up to Liverpool St . I can honestly say it’s the worst it’s ever been. There’s been no thought as to the huge increase of people using the line or how the ageing trains can be kept running regularly as without fault.
    I have spoken with ‘line controllers’ (you have to make an appointment to get a call) and the last one admitted that more trains use the Hainault loop as the depot at Hainault is now the main place to turn around trains. What I do not understand is why the sidings at Woodford and Loughton aren’t used. He had no answer for me.
    To be fair to those who use the Hainault branch, they suffer just as much as the rest of us with dirty hot trains, overcrowding and regular hold ups. It’s the same for all of us.
    On last thing. What infuriates me the most is that no one seems accountable. Staff at stations have no answers and neither does CL twitter account. If commuters could speak with someone it would improve frustrations at least by getting some answers.
    I cannot see any way forward for improvements unless new trains are introduced. But that is apparently years away.
    Terrible service that wouldn’t be tolerated in any other European city.
    Paul Norfolk


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