London: London`s underground train system will launch a 24-hour weekend service next year, Transport for London (TfL) announced on Wednesday.
The "Tube" currently closes at around midnight, after which time weekend revellers and other late-night commuters are forced to either take a taxi or use the city`s network of night buses.
But from September 12 next year, they will be able to use large sections of the underground system throughout the early hours, thanks to the "modernisation of significant parts of the network," according to TfL.
The local government body claims that the "Night Tube" will reduce travel times by between 20 minutes and an hour, and that it will boost London businesses that rely on night-time trade.
The initiative, first promised by London Mayor Boris Johnson last November, will coincide with the city`s hosting of matches for the Rugby World Cup.
Trains will run around every 10 minutes on all Night Tube lines, including the Jubilee, Victoria and most of the Piccadilly, Central and Northern lines.
"London is a bustling, 24-hour global city and by this time next year we`ll have a 24-hour Tube service to match," Johnson said on Wednesday.
"As well as creating vital new jobs and giving a huge boost to our economy, the Night Tube will help millions of people to get around our city more easily and quickly."
But Mick Cash, Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union general secretary, warned that understaffing could lead to late-night chaos.
"The truth is that the mayor threw this plan in as a diversion from his massive cuts and closures programme that will axe a thousand staff and decimate services and safety.
"To make this plan work we need more Tube staff not less if we are not going to be risking disaster at 3 am when the West End is flooded with thousands of people fresh out of the pubs and clubs."