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Khan: New Piccadilly rolling stock will be delivered by 2023

London mayor Sadiq Khan has promised to deliver new rolling stock for the Piccadilly Line by 2023, and hinted that it would need to be capable of driverless operation.

Khan appeared in a Mayor’s Question Time session before the London Assembly last week, following widespread disruptions on the Piccadilly Line after about half of the fleet were withdrawn because of safety concerns.

The mayor told London Assembly Members that TfL would issue invitations to tender for both resignalling and new rolling stock on the Piccadilly Line in 2017, and award the contracts in late 2018.

In a dig at his predecessor, Boris Johnson, Khan said his new TfL business plan contained a commitment to deliver the upgrades on time.

“That’s as fast as I can go,” Khan said. “Unlike the previous mayor, I’m not going to delay this any further. I’ m going to stick to the timelines that we’ve got.”

The mayor agreed that “better signalling and better rolling stock”, replacing the current fleet of trains from 1973, was needed to improve services on the line.

However, he protested that he couldn’t deliver the trains ahead of schedule, because the new rolling stock would have to be built, beginning in 2019. The signalling upgrades will begin in 2021 and the rolling stock is due to enter service from 2023.

Keith Prince AM, the GLA Conservatives’ spokesperson on transport and one the most persistent critics of Khan’s transport policies, quizzed him as to whether the new trains would be driverless.

Khan indicated that they would need to be built to have the capacity, saying: “It will be unwise for us to not buy stuff that’s future-proof.”

The disruptions on the Piccadilly Line occurred because the Piccadilly fleet, unlike the newer trains on the Hammersmith & City, Circle, District and Metropolitan lines, doesn’t have wheel-slide protection. This meant that the wheels locked on the tracks when they became slippery due to wet leaves on the tracks during autumn, creating ‘flat spots’ which risk damaging the tracks.

Khan said that he’d told TfL to make repairing the trains a “top priority” and to carry out a full review of its preparations and response to problems during the past year. He’d then instructed TfL commissioner Mike Brown to make sure London Underground is better prepared next year.

The mayor also indicated that passengers affected by the disruption would be eligible for backdated compensation.

Night Tube services were introduced on the Piccadilly Line on Friday night, despite the safety concerns.

(Image c. Yui Mok from PA Wire)

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Andrew Gwilt   20/12/2016 at 15:37

What about having new rolling stock for the Bakerloo Line to replace the 1972 stock if Bombardier, Hitachi, Siemens, Stadler, Alstom and CAF are the preferred bidders to manufacture brand new London Underground Deep Level rolling stocks for not just the Piccadilly Line but for the Bakerloo Line and also new London Underground tube stocks for the Central Line and Waterloo & City Line.

Andrew Gwilt   20/12/2016 at 15:42

Also why not extend the night service on the Piccadilly Line to as far as Rayners Lane as the Metropolitan Line will soon introduce a night service that will operate between Aldgate/Baker Street-Uxbridge and to/from Watford (Watford Junction from 2019), Chesham (peak times (possible)) and Amersham.

Matthew Read   22/12/2016 at 22:07

It's a shame we have to wait so long for these new trains I just want a better service in my area.

Boris   23/12/2016 at 23:31

Matthew, it seems that every time you post on your forums, you want older trains to be retained instead of more economical newer trains, unless it directly benefits you.

Matthew Read   27/12/2016 at 18:56

Sorry I guess your right I've never been a great fan of the 1973 tube stock because my very first ride on one wasn't a good experience. But lets be honest the District line service is very poor.

James Palma   30/12/2016 at 10:02

How does the mayor of london intend to pay for these new trains and signalling upgrades with fare freezes, only essential roles within tfl being filled, and contractors being pushed out of the organsation, plus current staff havinh to do more for less meaning that there are less resources to do this type of work? If he acrually listened to those people who do the work, and not just the pressure groups or vested interests and voters he may like to reconsider his current policies.

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