London Underground has formally signed a contract with Siemens Mobility to buy 94 new tube trains which will be used on the Piccadilly line.

The trains will replace the current fleet of aging trains which date back to the 1970s and are proving increasingly problematic to keep running. A programme of modest upgrades to the old trains is underway at the moment to keep them running until the new trains start to arrive in passenger service from 2024.

The fleet of new trains will also enable increased frequencies during peak times by the end of 2026 (up from 24 to 27 trains-per-hour).

The delivery date for the new trains has slipped though, as the first trains were expected in 2022.

The newly designed tube trains will come with wider doors and longer, walk-through, fully air-conditioned carriages. The new design also reduces the weight of the trains by 30 tonnes and energy consumption by 17 percent, thus generating less heat to be dispersed in the tunnels. The trains would have a lower floor and 11 per cent higher passenger capacity than the current tube trains.

In addition, in-train information systems, as seen on Thameslink and the TfL Rail trains will help all customers plan their onward journey.

The initial order is for 94 trains and an associated Fleet Services Agreement covering the supply of spares and whole life technical support (a value of approximately £1.5bn). This has been awarded with the expectation that Siemens Mobility will build trains for all four Deep Tube lines – the Piccadilly, Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City.

Creating a single train design will allow TfL to maximise cost savings through greater standardisation of train operations, staff training, equipment, spares and maintenance.

The contract was provisionally awarded to Siemens earlier this year, but a legal challenge from the Bombardier / Hitachi joint venure had threatened to scupper the deal.

As Siemens Mobility announced earlier this year, the contract award is a significant step to progress plans to build a new factory in Goole, East Yorkshire, to manufacture and commission trains.

The New Tube for London programme will eventually see approximately:

  • 100 trains for the Piccadilly line
  • 100 trains for the Central line
  • 40 trains for the Bakerloo line
  • 10 trains for the Waterloo & City line

The Piccadilly line currently serves 210 million customers a year and demand is expected to grow 20% by 2020. The Piccadilly line has therefore been prioritised as the first of the four lines to benefit from the new trains and signalling system.

When the new trains arrive, the Piccadilly line will also be taking over the Ealing Broadway service from the District line. The District line trains can then be used to increase capacity by 25% on the busier Richmond and Wimbledon branches of the District line.

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