The public can get a glimpse of the future driver-less and first-time air-conditioned train design for London Underground in an exhibition at King’s Cross St Pancras Underground station.
The new trains, expected to be rolled out in the mid- 2020s, featuring wider doors, walk-through carriages and step free access, are designed to accommodate more commuters – a necessary measure to increase the capacity of London Underground as the capital’s population keeps growing.
"The New Tube for London will change the face of travel on the Underground,” said Mike Brown, Managing Director of London Underground. “The faster, more frequent and more reliable services it will enable will help us keep pace with London's growing population.
The design of the trains, though modern and taking into account latest technology, also draws from the London Underground’s heritage and incorporates elements of its traditional look.
"London's Tube is one of the most iconic trains around the world. We are proud to have designed something that is part of the very fabric of London life, celebrating all that's great about London's environment; cutting edge technology, rich history and diversity,” said Paul Priestman, Designer and Co-founding Director of PriestmanGoode, the transport design studio that helped London Underground create the new concept.
Overall 250 trains will be manufactured and introduced first on the Piccadilly line, followed by the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City lines.
Although the trains will be designed to operate fully autonomously, in the early phases after their introduction, they will have a human operator aboard.
The trains, foreseen to serve London for more than 40 years, are part of a major renovation of the London Underground network that will also see an upgrade of the signalling system, allowing for faster, more frequent and reliable services.
“The New Tube marks a significant step forward in giving Londoners and visitors the accessible and modern transport service that they expect and deserve,” the Mayor of London Boris Johnson commented
"Londoners are already seeing huge improvements on the Tube network, with faster and more frequent journeys on the Jubilee and Victoria lines, the modernisation of the Northern line nearing completion this year, and new walk-through, air-cooled trains on the Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and part of the District lines. The New Tube will take the improvements to the next level."
The new trains are foreseen to increase the capacity of the Central line by 25 per cent, an equivalent of up to 12,000 customers per hour. The Bakerloo line will also see a 25 per cent improvement, transporting up to 8,000 people per hour more. The Waterloo & City line will see a 50 per cent capacity increase (the equivalent of up to 9,000 customers per hour) while the Piccadilly line is expected to provide an impressive 60 per cent improvement (the equivalent of up to 19,000 customers per hour).
The New Tube for London exhibition is at King's Cross St Pancras Underground station, Northern ticket hall, from Thursday 9 October until Sunday 16 November. The exhibition features images of the New Tube design, including a fly-through film, giving Londoners a glimpse into the future.
A formal Invitation to tender is expected to be issued in early 2015 and a contract to build the new trains to be awarded in 2016. The first train is expected to come into service on the Piccadilly line in 2022.