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LU confirms delay for sub-surface lines resignalling

The budget for the new signalling system for London Underground’s (LU’s) sub-surface lines has increased by 30% while the expected completion date has been pushed back until 2022. This is likely to also affect the introduction of new stock under the New Tube for London programme

Thales, whose SelTrac CBTC (communications-based train control) system was successfully implemented on the Northern Line, following a more difficult resignalling of the Jubilee Line, has been contracted to do the work on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, following the termination of a contract with Bombardier.

The new £5.54bn budget is a 30% increase from the original £4.26bn, which LU says will provide cover for a more realistic price for the new signalling contract, a longer overall programme, and additional infrastructure works and costs identified as necessary.

LU is in the final stages of negotiating a position with Thales and believes that the new price will be in line with, or below, the cost per kilometre of modernising the Northern Line signalling. 

Work is expected to begin later this year; however the previous completion date of 2018 will not be met. Customers will start to see the benefits of the work on the Circle Line in 2021, with all four lines completed in 2022.

The plan uses an "even further improved" version of the system built by Thales, now successfully operating on the Jubilee and Northern lines. 

The new Thales signalling system will allow the Circle Line to run trains up to every four minutes instead of 10, and once LU adds in additional District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan line services there will be trains every two minutes across much of this part of the network in Central London. 

Mike Brown, MD of LU, said: “Having modernised three of the most heavily used lines we now need to bring the next four lines in to the modern era. To do so is absolutely vital to us continuing to effectively support London's new economic growth, housing and jobs as London’s population grows from 8.6 million today to 10 million in 2030. The work will transform for the better the journeys of millions of our customers – cutting journey times, wait times and crowding and ensuring journeys are more reliable.

“The scale and complexity of the work and the need to keep London moving as we do it means that it will take several years. In the meantime we are continuing to deliver a better, more reliable service – with delays now at their lowest ever level. We are all focused on getting the next major phase of modernisation underway as soon as possible so all of our passengers, across the city, can get the type of modern Underground which we already are seeing on other parts of the network.”

The District, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines together make up nearly 40% of the network and include the oldest part of the network, built in 1863.

Once these four lines have been completed, LU will "then move on" to buying new trains and control systems for the Piccadilly, Central, Bakerloo, and Waterloo & City lines, it said. This implies a substantial delay in the programme to introduce new rolling stock. 

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