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Next generation LU train designs unveiled

New ‘blueprint’ designs for the next generation of London Underground (LU) trains from the mid-2020s have been unveiled.

The ‘new’ stock, costing between £1bn and £2.5bn, will be first introduced on the Piccadilly line, followed by the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City lines, to be built by one of the five shortlisted bidders: Alstom, Siemens, Hitachi, CAF and Bombardier.

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About 250 new trains will be built under the ‘New Tube for London’ project, which is also on public display from today.

Transport for London’s (TfL) team has been working with transport design specialists PriestmanGoode to develop the ‘blueprints’ for the trains. They say this has been to ensure a balance between the design and function of a train that “will serve London for decades to come”, and respect the “world-renowned and instantly recognisable design heritage of LU”.

Its design will feature air-cooled carriages for the first time on deep-level sections of the Tube, and also features improved accessibility, with step-free access from the platform as well as walk-through carriages and wider doors.

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TfL hopes the introduction of new trains and a better Tube service will help the Underground keep pace with London's rapidly rising population and support the city's economy. The building of the 250 new trains will also help to support new jobs and growth elsewhere in the UK.

The trains will serve London for more than 40 years and will be designed and built to be capable of fully automatic operation. However, when the trains first enter service they will have an operator on board. Along with modernised signal systems operating alongside them, the trains will enable faster, more frequent and reliable services with fewer delays, as well as providing greater capacity on all four lines.

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It is expected that the Central and Bakerloo lines will benefit from a 25% greater capacity (the equivalent of up to 12,000 passengers an hour); Waterloo & City by 50% (the equivalent of up to 9,000 passengers an hour); and Piccadilly by 60% (the equivalent of up to 19,000 passengers an hour).

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “These innovative, eye-catching and sleek new trains will be vital for the continued modernisation of LU. These beautiful, air-cooled machines represent the best of British design and innovation. They will help to keep London and its economy moving in the right direction.”

A formal invitation to tender is expected to be issued in early 2015 and a contract to build the new trains to be awarded in 2016. The first train is expected to come into service on the Piccadilly Line in 2022.

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Mike Brown MVO, managing director of LU, said: “The ‘New Tube for London’ will change the face of travel on the Underground. The faster, more frequent and more reliable services it will enable will help us keep pace with London's growing population.

“The design respects the past but also looks to the future with the very latest technology; including walk-through carriages and wider doors to enable people to get on and off quickly and air-cooling for the first time on the deep level lines.”

The New Tube for London programme will see approximately 100 trains for the Piccadilly line; 100 trains for the Central line; 40 trains for the Bakerloo line; and 10 trains for the Waterloo & City line.

Paul Priestman, designer and co-founding director of PriestmanGoode, said: “London's Tube is one of the most iconic trains around the world. We are proud to have designed something that is part of the very fabric of London life, celebrating all that's great about London's environment; cutting edge technology, rich history and diversity.”

The New Tube for London exhibition is at King's Cross St Pancras Underground station, Northern ticket hall, from Thursday 9 October until Sunday 16 November. The exhibition features images of the New Tube design, including a fly-through film, giving Londoners a glimpse into the future.

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