"Getting installation underway takes us another step forward on our journey to provide the capacity on the network that London needs..."
Comprising of 40% of London’s tube network, the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines run along the oldest parts of the network, with the first wave of construction beginning as far back as 1863. Now, these four lines carry roughly 1.3 million passengers each day, more passengers than most European countries carry in one day across their entire network. On the 7th June, Transport for London (TfL) announced that they had hit a milestone and would be upgrading the lines, with the jovial remark that some of the current signalling systems in use though operating safely and successfully, probably belong in a museum!
As SmartRail World reported back in January, around two thirds of London’s tubes are already undergoing upgrades in an attempt to keep up with the cities ever growing population. Running through Central, East, West and North London the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines are more than ready for their upgrades. The signalling systems across the four have been there since the 1930s and are some of the oldest in use in the world.
Their age means that TfL are unable to offer passengers the high-frequency service that they crave. Once upgraded the lines will be capable of running trains every 2 minutes, and aim to increase capacity by 33%. Managing Director of London Underground, Andrew Pollins has said that the “use of this newer, more sophisticated signalling system will mean more frequent, more reliable and less crowded journeys and will help us meet rapidly growing customer demand."
The new contract awarded to Thales ( @ ) to upgrade the line has a completion date set for 2022 and both Thales and TfL are hopeful that the project will help with issues of demand in the city. The updates are already underway and are set to be carried out in sections.
Alistair McPhee, Vice President of the Ground Transportation Systems business at Thales has said: “Getting installation underway takes us another step forward on our journey to provide the capacity on the network that London needs.”
The project to update the four lines got off to a bad start, when back in 2014 a contract for upgrades by Bombardier (@) were pulled by London Underground. Mike Brown, Managing Director of London Underground, was reported saying it had “become apparent to both parties that for the work to be completed within or close to the planned deadline, we need to push on with works with another contractor.”
However, with this behind them TfL’s work with Thales has got off to a good start and once complete will increase capacity significantly. Once these four lines have been completed, LU will then move on to introducing new trains and control systems for the Piccadilly, Central, Bakerloo, and Waterloo & City lines. In total these upgrades are expected to create an additional 1,100 jobs and 60 apprenticeships across the country.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Thales successfully re-signalled the Victoria line, this is incorrect, it was in fact Siemens. Apologies for any confusion caused.
Duncan Cross, Deputy Director Operations, London Overground & Andy Bourne, Head of Upgrades, David Price, Senior Engineer and Ian Thompson, Project Engineer all from Transport for London are confirmed expert speakers at Smart Metro (incorporating the 7th Annual CBTC World Congress, which returns to Copenhagen on 1-3 November 2016 Book today to join them!
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