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The BBC's Simon Montague
"The cost has risen twice as much"
 real 28k

Saturday, 20 November, 1999, 09:44 GMT
Jubilee Line finally opens
The new Jubilee Line train design

The final section of London Underground's Jubilee Line extension has opened, linking London to the Millennium Dome.

The first train from Stratford in the south east of the city drove through to West Hampstead in the north at 0510 GMT on Saturday.

The new route
Stratford
West Ham
Canning Town
North Greenwich
Canary Wharf
Canada Water
Bermondsey
London Bridge
Southwark
Waterloo
(Westminster)
Green Park
John Self, general manager of the Jubilee Line Extension (JLE), said: "When the Millennium Dome opens on 1 January, passengers will be able to travel directly and easily from the northern end of the Jubilee Line to North Greenwich station, next to the Dome."

He said the majority of the 45,000 passengers at Charing Cross each day would have "easier and shorter" journeys, while the thousands wanting to use the new Jubilee link would receive a "real boost".

The UK's biggest construction project since the Channel Tunnel has taken almost two years longer than expected and cost almost twice as much as originally forecast.

The plan for the extension was originally passed in Parliament in 1989 and contractors said it would be open by 1996.

In 1989 it was intended there would be 11 stops and 10 miles of track at a cost of 900m. Now the cost is believed to have topped 3.5bn.

Safety fears and strikes

It was delayed by doubts about the safety of tunnelling techniques and repeated strikes by electricians.

But to the relief of London Underground and the government, the extension is opening in time for the millennium.

The project is the single largest addition to the Underground in over 25 years. The final section connects Green Park with Waterloo, although Charing Cross will no longer be on the Jubilee Line.

For the first time, stations below ground have automatic glass doors at the edges of the platforms to stop passengers falling on tracks.

Millennium Dome organisers estimate that about 42% of the expected 12 million visitors to the Dome during the year 2000 will use the Jubilee Line extension to travel there.

But Westminster station, still undergoing refurbishment, will not re-open to Jubilee Line trains until next year.


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See also:
27 Oct 99 |  UK
Electricians vote to accept rise
20 Oct 99 |  UK Politics
Jubilee Line 'still late'
14 May 99 |  UK
Prescott launches Dome tube link

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