Why TfL won't restart the night tube on Jubilee line just yet

Night Tube at Oxford Circus

Night tube at Oxford Circus - Credit: Mike Garnett

Calls have been made for the Jubilee line to resume its night tube service after it hit the buffers when the Covid emergency began.  

Councillors from Tower Hamlets, Brent, Camden and Southwark have sent a letter to the mayor of London Sadiq Khan asking for the reinstatement of night trains like those planned on the Central and Victoria lines from November 27. 

Tired passengers on the Night Tube at 3am

Tired passengers on the night tube at 3am - Credit: Mike Brooke

The Jubilee runs from Stratford and Canning Town, connecting Canary Wharf to the Southbank and West End and onto north London to reach communities from Swiss Cottage and Kilburn out to Wembley and Kingsbury. 

But it won’t be resuming night trains just yet — much to councillors' frustration. 

Monitoring passenger safety on the Night Tube

Monitoring passenger safety on the night tube - Credit: Mike Brooke

“The mayor must act to ensure the safety of women,” Tower Hamlets councillor Rabina Khan said, especially after the killings of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard in recent months.  

“We have been contacted by women and shift workers across London, fearful about travelling late at night," she added.

Transport police patrolling the Night Tube on the first night

Transport police patrolling the night tube on the first night - Credit: Mike Brooke

Other Lib Dem councillors along the Jubilee line have signed the letter to City Hall.

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Cllr Anton Georgiou on Brent Council pointed out it would help clean up the air in London. 

He said: “It’s illogical to not reinstate the Jubilee's night tube, which would give the option of less polluted travel. London already has a toxic air crisis which has been linked to an alarmingly high number of preventable health problems.” 

Others who signed the letter were Southwark Lib Dem group leader Hamish McCallum and Camden councillor Nancy Jirira. 

Revellers getting the Night Tube home from the West End

Revellers getting the night tube home from the West End - Credit: Mike Brooke

The Jubilee was one of five lines running night trains on Fridays and Saturdays before the pandemic. The service started in 2016 on the Central and Victoria, with the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly added later. 

A spokesperson at Transport for London (TfL) said: “It’s not about money, but a shortage of drivers. We have a backlog of training. There is also much engineering work at weekends and night-time.

"But as soon as it’s possible, we’ll bring back a night service on the Jubilee."

Arriving home safely in the early hours after a night up West... thanks to the Night Tube

Arriving home safely in the early hours thanks to the night tube - Credit: Mike Brooke

Training new drivers has also stopped because social distancing was impossible in the confines of a driver’s cab. It now takes longer training recruits with daytime gaps to fill first, TfL revealed.