London's long-awaited 24-hour Underground service will be trialled this Friday and Saturday (12 and 13 August) ahead of its 19 August launch, IBTimes UK has learned. Sources close to the situation said trains will run without passengers on the Victoria and Central lines to test the operational readiness of the new service.
The Night Tube was first announced by former Mayor of London Boris Johnson in September 2014, but the project suffered delays because of a series of industrial disputes over pay and work conditions with Underground unions, including the RMT, TSSA, Aslef and Unite.
The service will first go live on Central and Victoria lines, with Piccadilly, Jubilee and Northern to follow in the autumn. The project is expected to support 2,000 permanent jobs and boost the economy by £360m ($470m).
"The Night Tube is absolutely vital to my plans to support and grow London's night time economy - creating more jobs and opportunities for all Londoners. The constant delays under the previous Mayor let Londoners down badly," Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, said in May.
"I have made getting the Night Tube up and running a priority, and London Underground has now confirmed that services on the first two lines will launch on 19 August."
The launch will see London join other major cities, including New York and Berlin, in providing night time metro services.
Mike Brown, London's transport commissioner, also said in May: "More than half a million people use the Tube after 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and the introduction of the night Tube, which will support London's businesses and jobs, is a historic step in our modernisation of the underground and our work to support London's economic growth."
A Transport for London spokesperson confirmed to IBTimes UK that London Underground will be running some tests of the Night Tube service this weekend.