Battersea Power Station Opening 20/09/2021

The new extension to the Northern line to Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station is scheduled to open on Monday 20th September. It will initially be served by 5 or 6 trains an hour which will run via the Charing Cross branch.  The extension cannot physically connect to the Bank branch.

In terms of fares the two new stations are in zone 1.  There will be walking interchanges between Battersea Power Station and the National Rail stations at Battersea Park and Queenstown Road.  The OSI List has been updated and the allowance is 20 minutes each in both directions.  These interchanges will be treated in the same way as those at Vauxhall and Elephant & Castle so if your Underground journey is only within zone 1 and your National Rail journey extends beyond zone 2 then special fares might apply.

Those are the facts.  My opinion is that TfL have created a confusing monster by agreeing to put the new stations in zone 1.  I completely get that the developers wanted their new residents to have zone 1 only fares to the centre of London.  This could have been achieved by putting them all (Battersea Power Station to Elephant & Castle) in zones 1/2.  Yes it would mean that people travelling in that corridor would only pay zone 2 fares, but in the grand scheme of things, does that matter?

What does matter is Vauxhall.  Both stations (NR and LU) are dual zoned 1/2 and there would be an outcry if they were to be moved into zone 1.  In fact neither the Mayor nor South London MPs could countenance the political backlash if it happened.  But Vauxhall is between the extension and the rest of zone 1.  Consider this scenario.  Someone lives near Clapham South station and wants to visit the large Sainsbury’s at Nine Elms.  They can change at Stockwell for Vauxhall and walk about half a mile, fare £1.50 off-peak.  Or they can change at Kennington for Nine Elms which is next door to Sainsbury’s, but the extra journey time will wipe out the savings of not having to walk, and the fare becomes £2.50 off-peak.

And then there’s the question of how you show the extension on the tube map or the rail and tube map.  They’re either going to have a confusing finger of zone 2 stretching up to Vauxhall and try to explain that the extension doesn’t go into zone 2, or they’ll draw the extension above Vauxhall and have to lose the dotted interchange with Vauxhall pier.  What a mess!

My prediction: Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms will become dual zoned 1/2 at some point in the future.

8 thoughts on “Battersea Power Station Opening 20/09/2021”

  1. Residents of Vauxhall and Elephant & Castle will be able to enjoy the novelty of travelling on a journey in the afternoon peak ending (by any measure) further out of Central London than the origin, yet paying the off peak fare.

  2. I don’t think that’ll work from Elephant or Kennington as they won’t ever be completely in zone 2. Vauxhall is a strange case and might well work, but only if they deem it as a likely journey. Vauxhall – Stockwell – Kennington – Battersea is quite a long winded journey when it’s one stop on a SWR train.

  3. The only reason I can see Vauxhall moving to only be in zone 1 is if this issue if this overthinking the mapping of the NLE by a few enthusiasts snowballs into confusion of the general public. Which it won’t.

    No one seemed to have an issue with lines crossing zones (namely the tram zone) on the map that they don’t enter in reality until some decided that it was a problem (and many people still don’t see it as a problem). Hopefully the actual map uses the obvious solution of a Z1/2 bubble that stops all the potential problems other than looking a bit ugly. It shouldn’t snowball – the people actually interested in this sort of thing were mostly unmoved by the idea that it was a problem in the first place.

    Average people aren’t, even if they spot the anomaly, going to see it as an issue. For example, in the Clapham North to Sainsburys example given, going one stop (to Stockwell), changing train and going one stop (to Vauxhall) being cheaper than going three stops (to Kennington), changing train and going one stop (to Nine Elms) is unlikely to be something people find strange – you are travelling further, and using a new line that cost money to build so can justifiably charge a premium (it’s not, but…).

    And the quarter of a mile walk to Sainsburys from the 88 bus, while not ideal, is less faff with shopping than either tube route with the changes in level and two vehicles. Is the example a journey that would actually be made by tube?

    • 1) Vauxhall won’t move into zone 1 only. Most south London MPs and the Mayor would be horrified at the backlash.
      2) The tram zone is different. It is only for trams. It’s confusing where it cuts zones 4 and 5 in half, but no-one thinks they’ll be charged a tram fare on top of the rail fare if travelling from Selhurst to Purley.
      3) They can’t use a 1/2 bubble unless the stations are in 1/2, which they aren’t.
      4) Maybe Sainsbury’s was a poor choice, although it’s not just a food store there.

      For what it’s worth, I agree that it needs the general public to be confused to be a big problem. but I do think there is scope for the public to be confused.

  4. I just noticed a lot of fares with routes listed as via Battersea Power Station have been populated. I’ve only just started looking but there appears to be some special treatment where an NR1T fare exceeds a split fare.

    • Sorry for the hasty follow-up, but interestingly / annoyingly it doesn’t appear to be offered on Zone 1 LU fares on the Northern Line south of Borough.

      E.g.: Mortlake to Borough is charged £5.30 pk (Z23 NR1 + Z1 TfL-LU), but Mortlake to Elephant only lists £5.50 (the full NR1T fare).

      • You’ve spotted a blunder there. Look carefully at the route descriptions and you’ll see that there is no fare defined for via Battersea Power Station. Thus I think it’ll be charged the default fare.

    • Yes, that’s the same as happens at Vauxhall or Elephant & Castle. If the split fare is cheaper then that’s what is charged. I did mention it in the article.

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