Train control centre rings the changes

A complete refit of London Underground's Neasden control centre will see service controllers sitting in a circle instead of the usual classroom layout.

LU's Jubilee Line is currently controlled from two centres, at Neasden depot and Baker Street. As part of a line upgrade, infrastructure manager Tube Lines will completely refit the Neasden centre so that the service control team can manage the whole line – from Stanmore to Stratford – from a single location, a significant improvement on the existing split set up. A detailed work programme will ensure that the control room remains in operation throughout.

New technology and desk layouts will make Neasden one of the most advanced line control bases in the world. Service controllers will sit in a circular layout to ensure they can easily communicate with each other. This better arrangement and their new multi-functional desks will enable them to flexibly oversee smoother services and respond more effectively to problems and incidents.

The focal point of any service control centre is the overview display, which shows details of what is happening along the entire line. Most centres use a single bank of screens at the front of the classroom layout. The circular formation is made possible through using flat screens suspended from the ceiling.

Tube Lines and London Underground have worked together closely to design the most effective control centre to satisfy Jubilee line operational needs.

Conrad Fawcett, Senior Project Manager at Tube Lines said: “It’s a tough job to completely refit a live control centre, but our careful planning and the teamwork we’re seeing from London Underground mean we’re confident all will run according to plan. When the changeover is complete, service controllers will have a state-of-the-art base to provide the best passenger services.”

Work has now started and will finish next year. The Jubilee line upgrade will be delivered by Tube Lines by the end of 2009, using a Thales moving block train control system.

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