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TfL completes biggest test of Tube’s signalling upgrade

Transport for London (TfL) has completed a weekend of testing on a brand new signalling system set to transform the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.

More trains ran between Hammersmith and Edgware Road this weekend than any other weekend of testing.

TfL says that the new system, which has undergone significant testing since October, will improve reliability and boost capacity on 40% of the Tube network.

The first trains are expected to operate under the new system this summer, with the stretch between Hammersmith and Edgware Road being the first to go live.

The new system is expected to transform one of the oldest part of the Tube into one of the most modern, and will provide more accurate real-time customer information.

It will be introduced gradually over 14 sections of the network. TfL says that customers will benefit from quicker, more frequent services from 2021, with all four lines using the new system by 2023.

The new signalling will allow trains to run closer together, increasing the frequency of services, with 32 trains per hour set to operate in the central London section, which will boost capacity by a third across all four lines.

A new state-of-the-art control centre for all four lines at Hammersmith is also nearing completion.

This will bring all aspects of managing the lines under one roof, helping to ensure a smooth, integrated service.

The fleet of 192 new S-stock trains are now being fitted with the technology needed to operate the new system and train operators have commenced training.

Stuart Harvey, TfL’s director of major projects, said: “This work on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines will transform one of the oldest parts of the network into one of the most modern and revolutionise journeys on 40% of the Underground.

“We are investing billions of pounds to make real improvement for customers including making journeys quicker and less crowded.

“The team are working around the clock so that customers can start to experience some of the benefits from this summer.”

Shaun Jones, vice president of transport at Thales in the UK, which provides the system, added: “Thanks to the ongoing hard work of our people, we are creating a world-class transport system for London that will start to deliver benefits this summer.

“Our proven technology will deliver better, more reliable journeys on some of the oldest and most complex parts of the underground network, and we continue to make great progress on this vital upgrade to 40% of the Tube.”

Top image: Tim Ireland PA Images

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Melvyn   19/02/2018 at 18:34

About time someone disposed of photos of C Stock trains as shown above !

Dave Siddall   19/02/2018 at 18:47

Begs the question, why can't Network Rail mainlines double or treble capacity instead of wasting money on HS2??

Neil Spellings   19/02/2018 at 22:47

@Dave Siddall They can...look at what Thameslink are doing on the core route through London to reach 24 trains per hour.

Matt HB   20/02/2018 at 00:16

@Dave Siddall Because small scale, low speed high density metro technoligy does not scale that well to 200 mile mainlines.

Andrew Gwilt   20/02/2018 at 03:18

RTM. That picture is old. The C-Stock is long gone and the S-Stocks have taken over since 2013. Anyways it’s good that the signalling has been completed.

Lutz   20/02/2018 at 09:03

On behalf of RTM we would like to apologise for the delays in delivering replacements for our old photo stocks. This is due to unforeseen technical difficulties. A full ORR investigation is under-way. We are hoping to have our program back on course soon, and to be able to offer faster, brighter, greener, newer photo-stocks in the coming period. :)

Lutz   20/02/2018 at 09:06

For once I am quite impressed with the delivery of a signalling project, however I think until the new services are fully operational we will not know how well they have done.

Jimbo   20/02/2018 at 09:11

@Dave Siddall - it is a lot easier to upgrade a line which has one type of stock, which you own. Most NR lines have multiple types of stock, owned and operated by different companies, which makes greatly increases the complexity, particularly when you consider occasional having to cater for occasional freight trains. Also, TfL are spending a *lot* of money on this, so given the same level of spending, NR could easily do similar projects.

Noam Bleicher   20/02/2018 at 10:07

Dave, it's perfectly possible to install the same system on the WCML, as long as you don't mind it being closed for testing and installation every weekend for the next 17 years ;-)

Dave   20/02/2018 at 15:17

Hahahahahahahaha!!!! What a joke. This was the former Metronet+Invensys job, that Invensys got paid £95m to walk away from, then it was awarded to Bombaerdier, who were paid £185m to walk away from. Finally Thales were the only bidder for attempt 3, because every other former bidder told LUL where to go. It was originally meant to be completely finished by summer 2018. So now its 2023 finish? In the meantime Network Rail just got on with Thameslink and completed all commissionings on time, end of 2017 ready for first phase of timetable change in May 2018.

Eric   20/02/2018 at 15:32

It was originally Thameslink 2000, so only 17 years late.: "British Rail proposed to expand and upgrade the original network in the early 1990s, with plans to increase the number of stations served from 50 to 169 and to increase passenger capacity by allowing 12-carriage trains and allowing more trains per hour"

Lutz   21/02/2018 at 08:47

@Dave Thameslink will not deliver on it's original targets and outputs schedule due to problems with the final testing of the signalling and choosing to phase introduction of services because they do not have faith in their ability to deliver the original service proposals.

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