The new trains for London's Piccadilly line are undergoing extensive testing by Siemens Mobility in Europe to ensure they meet the demands of operating on one of the busiest Underground lines.
The first newly built test train is currently at the Test and Validation Centre in Wegberg-Wildenrath, Germany, where it is being put through its paces on the test track. Engineers are testing the train's acceleration, braking, noise, and vibration levels.
In addition to track testing, a three-car formation of the Piccadilly line carriages has also been tested in a special climate chamber to ensure the trains can withstand extreme weather conditions. The trains were exposed to temperatures ranging from -15°C to 40°C, solar loads of 600W/m2, ice, and high wind speeds of up to 100km/h.
The Piccadilly line trains are based on Siemens Mobility's Inspiro family of metro trains and offer passengers an improved customer experience with walk-through, air-conditioned carriages, and improved accessibility. The new trains will also increase capacity by around 10% and are more energy efficient than the existing fleet.
Siemens Mobility is building 94 Piccadilly line trains for Transport for London (TfL), with around half of the trains set to be assembled at a new train manufacturing facility in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire. The Goole facility is expected to create up to 700 skilled jobs.
The new Piccadilly line trains are due to enter passenger service in London from 2025, replacing the existing fleet dating from the 1970s. Subject to TfL funding, Siemens Mobility would also build new trains for the Bakerloo line out of the train manufacturing facility in Goole.
Sambit Banerjee, Joint CEO for Siemens Mobility UK and Ireland, said: “It is quite something to see the first of the new state-of-the-art Piccadilly line trains being tested.
“Although we are still in the early stage of testing, we are learning a lot about this test train and its future performance. As well as testing on the track, we have also been using our climate chamber to ensure the trains can operate safely in extreme weather conditions.
These vital tests mark an important milestone for the project.”
Stuart Harvey, TfL’s chief capital officer, said: “Progress on bringing a new fleet of state-of-the-art Tube trains into service in 2025 on the Piccadilly line continues apace with rigorous testing now underway on all aspects of the train’s functionality and performance.
“This will ensure that the new fleet is able to meet the demands of operating on London’s busy Piccadilly line, which accounts for more than 10 per cent of London Underground’s ridership and serves Heathrow Airport, the West End and St Pancras International.
Harvey also confirmed TfL were making the case to Government for long-term capital investment which would allow TfL to invest in rolling stock on the Bakerloo line.
He added: “We want to follow the introduction of these new trains on the Piccadilly line by doing the same on the Bakerloo line, replacing the 51-year-old trains that it currently operates, and by continuing to modernise our fleets and signalling to make sure they remain safe and reliable.
“But, such vital improvements will not be possible without continued capital investment from the Government from April 2024."
Photo Credit: TfL/Siemens Mobility