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​TfL ​plans refurbishment of Tube station

A major refurbishment of a London underground station - which may include substantial work to fit new insulation and waterproofing - is being planned by Transport for London (TfL).

The project will see a major revamp of South Kensington Station, which is served by the Circle, District and Piccadilly lines and is frequently used by travellers visiting the nearby Victoria and Albert, Natural History and Science Museums.

TfL is seeking bids for the restoration project, which will see the Thurloe Street entrance be transformed with step-free access to the District and Circle lines. There will also be step-free access to a pedestrian subway under the busy local streets to the museum quarter. Subject to planning permission, these will be complete by 2022.

Among the plans are the construction of new shops in the arcade along Thurlow Street, with this project taking place within the restrictions being placed on the site by the Grade II-listed status of the shopping arcade, which will be restored to its former glory, along with a Grade II-listed subway which will form part of a second entrance. In addition, the site may be added to with a possible second storey on the Bullnose building being among the options.

There will also be changes inside the station itself, with plans including the rebuilding of a disused platform to host District and Circle line services, expansion work on the ticket hall and gate line, plus a new emergency exit leading to the Thurlow Road Bridge. Work may start next year if planning permission is granted.

Speaking about the undertaking, director of commercial development at Transport for London Graeme Craig said: "South Kensington Tube station is one of our busiest stations and also the gateway to some of the most important and treasured cultural institutions anywhere in the world.

"We want to find a long-term partner with whom we can work to create a station that reflects its historic legacy and unique setting, whilst generating vital revenue to reinvest in transport and provide step-free access for millions of journeys."

With 34 million visitors a year - many of whom are coming to see the museums or other local attractions such as Imperial College London and the Royal Albert Hall - South Kensington is one of the most heavily-used stations on the Tube network.

As well as the improvement of South Kensington Station, several more Tube stations are set to be built from scratch over the next few years.

Work is already underway on an extension to the Northern Line in south London, which will link up the vast Nine Elms development to the system. This will include the new stations at Nine Elms and Battersea, the latter in the shadow of Battersea Power Station. These should be open in the early 2020s, following some delays in recent months caused by the redesign of Battersea's station box. This happened as developers wanted to build residential accommodation directly above it, necessitating a stronger design.  

Plans have also been published for an expansion of the Bakerloo line, which currently has its southern terminus at Elephant and Castle. The projected expansion of the line, which will not be completed until the late 2020s, would involve a tunnel alongside the Old Kent Road, through New Cross and out to Lewisham.

This would include four new stations, of which two will be along the Old Kent Road, plus interchange stations at New Cross with London Overground and at Lewisham Station, which will link the line with both mainline rail services and the Docklands Light Railway.