Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney was left locked outside the gates of Dalston Junction station as the first train on the newly-opened East London line set off. “Sadly, Boris didn’t invite anyone from the local authority,” Mr Pipe said. “I hope once this naked electioneering is finished, he will invite everyone who has actually had a hand in making this happen.”
Jules Pipe and his predecessors lobbied for the street level extension of the line as well as contributing towards getting £1bn of funding for the line.
Ken Livingstone, who was Mayor of London from June 2000 to May 2008, initiated TfL’s £1bn extension of the East London line, which was partly designed to boost transport capacity for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, refuted Mr Pipe’s claims however. “This is a completely non-political event,” he said. “I hope that people can appreciate the wonderful achievement that has been made today.
“We are not in the grubby business of electioneering. We are united in celebrating a titanic achievement by Transport for London.”
TfL commissioner Peter Hendy announced that the line had been completed “on budget and early”.
A spokesperson for TfL said:
“The East London line is now open and is a fantastic contribution to Hackney and London’s transport network. Due to the laws covering the conduct of public bodies during election periods, TfL was unable to invite any political figure standing in either of the upcoming elections to the East London Line launch.
“To be as politically impartial as possible, we chose to invite London Assembly members of all political parties with connections to the line to the launch.”
A “preview” service of the line will run from 7am to 8pm Monday to Friday. Full evening and weekend services will run from 23 May.
See our video for an interview with Jules Pipe.