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The ‘New Tube for London’

London Underground has started the hunt to find a manufacturer for the next generation of Tube trains.

About 250 air-cooled trains are needed for the deep-level lines – Piccadilly, Central, Bakerloo and Waterloo & City.

It is placing a notice today in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) seeking expressions of interest to build the new trains.  A formal Invitation to Tender is expected to be issued in early 2015.

The project, once known as the Deep Tube Programme, is now called New Tube for London.

Board minutes from 5 February give an idea of the expected service frequency on the lines:

  • Piccadilly line (100 trains): a 60% increase in line capacity can be achieved with new generation trains and re-signalling to enable peak services of at least 33 trains per hour (tph) by 2025;
  • Central line (100 trains): a 25% increase in line capacity can be achieved with new generation trains and re-signalling to operate peak services at 33tph by 2030;
  • Bakerloo line (40 trains): a 25% increase in line capacity can be achieved with new generation rolling stock and re-signalling to enable a 27tph peak service by 2033;
  • Waterloo & City line (10 trains): a 50% increase in line capacity can be achieved through remodelling of the track layout at Waterloo, an increased fleet size of new generation trains and re-signalling to enable a 30tph peak service level by 2032.

It adds: “The NTfL team will specify and procure the core signalling elements of the programme. In parallel, the control and infrastructure components of civil infrastructure, track, power, cooling and associated construction elements will be developed, specified and incorporated within ITTs ready for procurement. All of this work will be developed and executed as part of an integrated railway design to ensure that all future contract requirements and interfaces can be effectively managed through delivery. A whole railway system approach will continue to be applied to ensure people, process and asset changes are fully defined and integrated.”

The benefit cost ratio is estimated at 4.2 to 1, while the cost in 2013 prices is £9.86bn, including risk at 15% and optimism bias at 25%.

TfL adds: “Prior to completion of the proposed design and specification stage in March 2016, further authority will be sought to progress the major procurements necessary, including rolling stock and signalling, for the Piccadilly line upgrade which has an estimated overall cost of £3.86bn at outturn.”

The new walk-through trains will be “capable of full automation”, TfL says.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “This is a hugely important step in the continued evolution of our world-famous Tube and one that will see an iconic new fleet of trains to keep London and its economy moving.”

Mike Brown MVO, managing director of London Underground, added: “Londoners have already seen huge improvements on the Underground.  The modernisation of the Victoria and Jubilee lines has delivered faster, more frequent and reliable journeys and this year we’ll also complete the upgrade of the Northern line ahead of schedule.  New walk-through, air-cooled trains are already running on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines and will soon be on the District line too.

“However, we can’t stand still and must continue to invest to meet the needs of London’s rapidly growing population.  Alongside modern signalling, these new trains will modernise and drastically improve capacity on the Bakerloo, Central, Piccadilly and Waterloo & City lines, allowing us to run more frequent and reliable trains, faster and closer together.

“Working with the rail industry, we want the New Tube for London to encompass the very latest technology as well as respecting our design heritage. Our new trains will be energy efficient, walk-through and provide air-cooling for the first time on the deep level lines, which are unique to London.”

One idea for the new Tube stock for the deep-level lines is Siemens’ updated Inspiro proposal, pictured above and below. Its new concept metro train went on display at The Crystal in London last year.

The most recent Tube rolling stock replacement, the S Stock on the sub-surface lines, went to Bombardier at Derby, which also built the 2009 Stock for the Victoria Line. The Northern line and Jubilee line stock were built in the mid-1990s by Alstom in Birmingham.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]

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Alwyn Bithell   28/02/2014 at 11:27

Alstom is a French owned company, Bombardier is American, why arent we planning to Manufacture by a wholly owned UK company and make a holistic investment in the country's future. There are lots of Aerospace jobs being lost so where is the Grandfather to oversee it, maybe this is a mission the Boris could pick up and earn the country's respect.

Joel Kosminsky   28/02/2014 at 13:05

Hang on a minute - the Central Line stock is barely 20 years old, only halfway through its design and costed life. Are Londoners (precept-payers) and other taxpayers to be asked to subsidise premature rolling stock replacement for an 'estimated' 4.2:1 benefit:cost gain? You can't do an accurate B:CR until you know the full cost of the programme and its implications. Suppose, just, that this has more to do with removing staff from trains and stations than 'efficiencies' of operation and suddenly a big chunk of that B:CR comes into view. The Picc and Bak Lines have severe curves too - a composite compatible carriage for all lines has to account for those - but if it did, we're back to 'Standard' Stock and 1938 stock days, something in principle (IN PRINCIPLE! Not retain the trains!) we should never have left. Nice plan but let's see some reality costs first.

Nonsuchmike   28/02/2014 at 13:44

Joel, they have to justify price increases in the future and staff reductions somehow, so how better than to announce a blind train at billions of pounds that will not show a benefit to the paying punters until well after I am dead and buried.

Geoffrey Lee   28/02/2014 at 14:46

I hope the future does not look like the concept. The front end looks like a jam jar lid.

Simon   28/02/2014 at 18:14

The Central Line 1992 tube stock trains are knackered, they need so much spending on them to make them last another 20 years that it will prove more cost effective to replace them. I still remember what happened in early 2003, when the problems with the motors falling off became so severe that the entire fleet was taken out of service for several months whilst the trains were rebuilt. I think it was something like 4-5 months before they had all been reintroduced to service, and even now their reduced higher speeds extends journey times. Whilst Crossrail is expected to reduce some of the severe overcrowding on the Central Line (especially from the east) these trains will also be almost full from day one. I use this route and at Stratford often see homeward passengers unable to board the trains! (although that might also be because whilst in 1980 there were 21 trains in the busiest evening peak hour, there are now just 16 trains in the same timeframe) Waterloo & City Line trains are essentially the same as the Central Line's, albeit with different electric train control systems.

Ricp   02/03/2014 at 06:32

I do hope that ridiculous looking Siemens mock up which looks like an enlarged Baked Bean can does not come to fruition. It would appear that some level of standardisation with door spacings and so-on will need to emerge, but I think the Cabless design at this stage is a sop to Bonkers Barmy Boris, whose leanings to right wing Union Bashing is more to boost his bid to be Tory Leader than for the Good Citizen of London's well being. I am not the greatest fan of Brother Bob Comrade Crow, but the fact that he personally has refused to meet Crow speaks volumes. Entertaining as Boris many be he's not a detail man. As leader of the Opposition he'll be great fun!

Dave Hindle   03/06/2016 at 13:53

If you put cooling in the tube trains the heat has to go somewhere, i.e. it is vented into the running tunnels. Unlike the shallow subsurface lines such as the District, Hammersmith & City, Circle & Metropolitan lines the heat is trapped underground and is absorbed into the cast iron tunnel linings and surrounding clay where it gradually builds up. The additional heat generated by the new, higher powered rolling stock further exacerbates this effect. The tunnel linings then radiate the heat back into the tunnels. During operational hours the heat is moved along the tunnels by the piston effect of the trains to ventilation shafts and stations, where it can be extracted to surface or artificially cooled but at night the radiated heat remains trapped. Some attempts at cooling the tube have been made with mixed results but the problem is set to increase with higher passenger flows and new and more frequent trains. In recent years cooler than usual summer temperatures have resulted in only discomfort to passengers but in time the heat build-up will increase discomfiture and may even cause more serious health problems in hot weather. In parallel with increased expenditure on new trains London Underground must address this issue as a matter of urgency, otherwise the benefits of cooling inside the trains will be negated by their adverse effect on the underground environment.

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