London Tube begins mass closure

London: Up to 40 London tube stations were set to close on Thursday ahead of an expected ‘lockdown in the British capital in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Waterloo & City line is set to shut completely on Friday, while some night services will be stopped as the coronavirus crisis hits services in the city, reports the Metro newspaper.

In a announcement late Wednesday night, Transport for London (TfL) urged all commuters to avoid the transport system for all but “essential” travel, with buses also expected to be severely disrupted.

There will also be no all-night ‘Night Tube’ service or the all-night ‘Night Overground’ service that currently runs on the East London line, on Fridays and Saturdays, “until further notice”, TfL added.

Late services on both the Tube and Overground will continue to run for essential journeys but the night bus network will “continue to provide critical workers with a reliable night option on Friday and Saturday nights and throughout the week”, it said.

The 40 stations, all of which do not interchange with other lines, will be closed “until further notice”, while other services will be “gradually reduced” from March 23, “to provide a service for critical workers to get to where they need to – ensuring that remaining services are not overcrowded”, the Metro newspaper quoted the TfL announcement as saying.

The development comes as London prepares for a widely-expected “lockdown” to be enforced “imminently”, with businesses, transport and public events set to be heavily impacted.

The UK has so far reported 2,626 coronavirus cases with 103 deaths.