London's Tube Set for Upgrades Despite Funding Hurdles

London's Tube Set for Upgrades Despite Funding Hurdles

Londoners can expect a busy year of upgrades to its Tube as Transport for London (TfL) confirmed today they will deliver vital upgrades despite a government funding shortfall.

"These past few years have been the most challenging in TfL's history," admitted Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. "But we're pleased to be on track for financial sustainability, thanks to rebuilding ridership and cutting costs."

While ridership is bouncing back, reaching 90% of pre-pandemic levels, the government's £250 million capital investment only covers half of TfL's needs. "We've had to make difficult decisions. To ensure vital upgrades continue."

The plan now includes rephasing payments for the new, walk-through Piccadilly line trains currently under construction. This won't delay their arrival and benefits Yorkshire's Goole factory, where Siemens Mobility is building them. More new trains will be built in the Siemens Mobility factory compared to the 50 per cent originally planned.

Quote from Andy Lord

Siemens is investing up to £200m, creating up to 700 jobs directly at the factory and up to 1,700 in the supply chain.

However, this means TfL must take on more debt in the future. They hope for long-term government funding certainty by 2025/26 to bridge the gap for major projects like Bakerloo line replacement trains.

Despite the financial juggling, Londoners can look forward to several upgrades:

  • Rolling out new air-conditioned Piccadilly and DLR trains.
  • Procurement for new South London trams, replacing the 25-year-old fleet.
  • Starting infrastructure work for the future Bakerloo line trains.

Work will also continue on the Four Lines modernisation programme which includes upgrading the rolling stock on the Hammersmith & City, District, Circle and Metropolitan lines that have seen new S-Stock walk-through trains introduced. Signalling upgrades can also continue across all four lines.

Khan warned that a long-term funding arrangement was still needed to be agreed with the government, adding, “It is still vitally important that we agree a sustainable long-term funding settlement from the Government that allows us to plan and invest for the infrastructure London will need over the coming decades.

“Expanding our transport network and supporting jobs and economic growth in London has real and sizeable benefits for the economy of the whole UK.”

Andy Lord, London’s transport commissioner, said: “Through a huge effort to reduce costs and rebuild our ridership and revenue following the pandemic, TfL is now on track to be financially sustainable in terms of our day-to-day operations. We are also able to cover the cost of the majority of our capital investment.

Photo: iStock

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