We have looked at the New Tube for London (NTfL) before but, with very little officially announced, it has been hard to pin down the details. Thanks to the a presentation to the Rail and Underground Panel and a follow-up one to the Finance and Policy Committee though we can now, with a little more certainty, say something about it. In the past week or so there have also been a number of reports published that are relevant in some way to New Tube for London, and we can now look at these where relevant to provide some background as well.

The Prelude: Sub-surface Railway Resignalling

Amongst the numerous documents that have been published last week is the London Assembly Report of the Sub-Surface Railway (SSR) signalling fiasco. Whilst a lot of the cultural problems have already come to light and have been previously reported on (not least by ourselves back in 2013), there are some financial figures from that report that have to be interpreted very carefully.

The headline figure, inevitably picked up by the BBC is of £886m. Caution should be exercised, however, and one must look at the wording very carefully. For example, in the introduction to the London Assembly Report the Chairman, John Biggs, states:

And there is a staggering cost associated with this mismanagement, which leaves TfL with £886m less to spend on its capital programme than it thought it had.

This reflects the difference between the amount originally budgeted for the project some years ago and the expected final costs. But within that figure some of the cost is for extra features in the new specification. A lot of the difference can also be accounted for because Bombardier tended for the job with a price that simply was not achievable.

If a builder offers to build you a house for £100,000 but cannot stick to the contract and you find actually have to pay £1m to someone else get the job done, then it is hard to argue that you have lost £900,000. The truth is that unknown to you, from that outset, getting it built for £100,000 was never achievable. Put simply, in some sense TfL have not ‘lost’ or ‘wasted’ that money, because it was never going to happen.

Of course the above does mean that there has been a failure to budget properly, and this has had consequences for New Tube for London. The report does highlight, however, truly wasted money because of bad contract terms unfavourable to TfL. This meant money effectively being paid to get out of the contract and the realisation that the bulk of the work already done was largely useless and would have to be written off – a figure that is estimated as £67m of truly wasted expenditure. This is certainly disturbing, but the transport world in London is full of sub-optimal expenditure. The true cost of abandoning articulated buses because the Mayor did not like them has not been calculated and many would question whether the New Bus for London, especially when it has two crew members, offers true value.

Biggest of all the financial failures has to be Public Private Partnership (PPP), even though good things did come out of it. The Shaw report into the running of Network Rail refers to PPP and states that:

The combined cost to buy-out the shareholders and establish the three Infracos was over one billion pounds.

This would be on top of any additional cost of setting up PPP or the charge to London Underground during its years of existence of higher costs than would otherwise be necessary. It is hard to imagine that the final cost amounted to less than £3bn and figures for the overall real cost have been speculated to be as high as £10bn – depending on how you do your sums.

What about the passengers?

One very pertinent cost identified in the London Assembly report is the loss of income due to reduced number of passengers caused by lack of capacity. In the Executive Summary of the London Assembly Report it states that:

TfL estimates that there will be 11 million fewer journeys a year and that this will cost it £271m in lost fares income. The broader economy will also suffer, with TfL estimating damage in the hundreds of millions.

One could regard this as a case of “don’t build it and they won’t come”.

Of course a loss of fares income is not automatically the same as a loss of that sum of money, because other costs (such as staff and station upgrades) may have been also necessary to enable that income to be collected. Nevertheless it is a sobering thought that this substantial cost ought to be factored into the cost of delayed projects, and this does not bode well for delays to New Tube for London.

Sub-surface Resignalling: The real bad news is delay

It is not surprising that the London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee concentrated on budget and finance. We would argue though that the true financial loss was not great, however, and that the really big worry is the delay to Sub-surface Railway resignalling and the consequential delay to subsequent projects elsewhere. As we have said many times before, delays on SSR resignalling have knock-on effects on New Tube for London, and we are already seeing that replacement of the Northern line and Jubilee line fleet is unlikely to be possible before 2040 at the earliest as a result.

To be absolutely fair to the Budget and Performance Committee Report, they do not ignore this delay. In fact they rather overstate it. Again, according to the executive summary

The programme is now not expected to be completed until 2023 – five years late.

Like the financial cost of the abortive contract, they are not being entirely fair – for they are not comparing like with like. The 2023 end date refers to some off-peak enhancements which London Underground are being extremely vague about (although we think we know what they are). These were not included in the failed Bombardier contract, so a fairer interpretation is that the programme is four years late – still significant but not quite as bad as claimed.

The surprising thing is that the report does mention what is possibly, to us, the most worrying aspect of all, yet it does not really spell out the harm done and almost understates the damage. In a falsely reassuring message we are told that:

The budget for the ATC element of the SSUP has been increased by 64 per cent from £1,382m to £2,268m. The majority of this additional expenditure will not become due until 2021-23, after the current business planning period, and hence TfL has not had to cancel or scale back any investment programmes already underway.

What this is really saying is that after 2021, beyond the current business planning period, TfL will have to cancel or scale back some investment programmes not already underway. This is primarily the very expensive New Tube for London. Cancelling is not an option, scaling back (in terms of specification) is probably not a realistic option either, so the inevitable consequence is that the critical New Tube for London programme will be delayed – which is what we have continually been seeing over the past few years.

Perhaps we could be as bold as to suggest the real failure of the SSR signalling contract was to believe in, and not scrutinise, a bid that was far too low in price for work that was not achievable and consequently forced a series of decisions that have led to the critical New Tube for London programme being delayed.

New Tube for London: The next big renewal unknown

With the future of Underground updates now fairly clearly mapped out until around 2023 – give or take some doubt as to what will actually be decided on for the Northern Line Upgrade 2 – it is time to regard the SSR resignalling fiasco as water under the bridge and to look beyond 2023, when we enter uncertain and less well charted territory. This leads us to look again at the huge upgrade to trains, signalling and just about everything else on four deep Tube lines happening under the New Tube for London banner.

A brave concept

It is hard to deny that the New Tube for London (NTfL) is a brave idea. The intention is to make best use of the existing tube infrastructure and create a new generation of trains that will last into the second half of this century. With the cost of new tube rolling stock already at around £2m for a single conventional carriage it is important to get the design right. The payback is that with the right infrastructure you can run far more trains than you can today. This applies to the Piccadilly line in particular which is currently struggling to run 24tph, yet 32-33tph should be possible. With NTfL you also have rolling stock that you can reasonably expect to last for 50 years and be updated as necessary to reflect the latest technology – as confirmed by the Commissioner, Mike Brown, in his latest Commissioner’s report in which he states:

The new trains will serve London for around 50 years and will be future-proofed to harness new advances in technology.

The project is extremely holistic with just about everything being being addressed – automation, the platform train interface, power upgrades, energy efficiency, the best train design possible in the space available, cooling, revised depots and even revised routeing where appropriate. It is a tall order and it is no wonder that until now the implementation date seemed to be slipping further into the future with every update.


According to the presentation slides, the New Tube for London project:

Encompasses 4 “deep tube” lines which were initially planned for upgrade under the PPP (2014 to 2020)

So, if things had gone according to the original plan, we would already be one third of the way through the NTfL upgrade. In retrospect it is hard to see how it ever would have been possible to upgrade in six years. The SSR upgrade – now unhelpfully called the four lines modernisation – is of comparable size, incorporates the same number of underground lines and is not now due to be complete until 2023. The idea of giving four Tube lines – even if one of them is the Waterloo & City – with a complete overhaul using the latest technology in just six years seems overly ambitious when viewed through modern glasses.

NTfL implementation timetable

The latest plan for implementation of NTfL

What we now have from a presentation to the Rail & Underground Panel is yet another set of completion dates for the implementation of rolling stock. What makes this one somewhat more plausible is that this time there appears to be a more realistic scenario for completely automatic operation (no staff of any kind). Furthermore, there also appears to be a commitment to this. Although previously (at least officially) no decision had been made, it was hard to believe that, in reality, there wasn’t an intention to move to completely automatic trains at some point. It was much more likely that the lack of a specific commitment was really an honest reflection of their being some doubt as to the best time to introduce what is more properly known as Unattended Train Operation within the lifetime of the project implementation.

Back to plan A

Years ago it appeared obvious to all that the best way to implement a programme of driverless trains was to start with the Waterloo & City line. This was rejected for various reasons – not least that upgrading the Piccadilly was the more urgent priority.

One of the sticking blocks seemed to be the “we will never order a train with a cab again” mentality. In other words, it was getting to the stage where it was unthinkable that the next generation would have a driver in the front cab for another forty years – at least on lines capable of full automation. A flaw in this plan was later identified. It was unrealistic to mix old manually driven stock and new driverless stock driverless on the same line, since the former prohibits platform edge doors under current rules and whilst the latter requires them. It was thus realised that you had to initially have some sort of cab – if only to get you through the transitional stage.

What seems to have now happened is that this coupling of the concept of new trains with that of driverless operation has been well and truly broken. The reason appears to be because it is more important in getting the new trains in service before the old ones become too much of a maintenance burden than it is to get them fully automated.

One suspects that deferring, for the most part, the automation proposal to the end of the implementation project makes implementation much less vulnerable to problems. A lot of people will immediately see this in terms of union difficulties, but it is probably the technical challenge to get a fully automated system working in a single track deep Tube tunnel that has really focused thinking. It could be argued that, whilst the rest of the scheme is very involved and complex, it really isn’t pushing at the boundaries of technology and is more a case of integrating already established railway components and technology. In contrast, with modern automated driving and supporting signalling, we are not yet at the stage where the risks associated with this are acceptably low enough to be confident it can be implemented on the Underground without major problems.

The consequence of this revised thinking appears to be the eminently sensible option of getting the trains in service on the Piccadilly line and then the Waterloo & City line. The latter will be automated, but with only two stations and no outdoor sections (and hence no issue with wet rails) this should not be a major technical challenge.

There was much early enthusiasm for starting off with the Waterloo & City line but, amongst the issues that make is less attractive as a proposition, is the difficulty of getting the trains back to the surface should early major problems develop. At least, when being the first Underground line with driverless trains, all problems should be rectifiable in the Waterloo depot and there should be no need to bring the trains up to the surface again.

After completion of implementation of the new stock on the Waterloo & City line, the trains will be introduced onto the Bakerloo line – which was never intended to be run without a driver in a cab. Finally, they will be introduced on the Central line and only then will the issue of running automated trains on a major Tube line (complete with outdoor sections) be tackled. The Piccadilly line – the line that was originally to have been first – will now follow. It is thus the repositioning of driverless trains on the Piccadilly from the possible front of the queue (never confirmed) to the back of the queue that really is the big change.

The major consequence of this revised plan is that there should be no further delay getting the trains in service on the Piccadilly line and Bakerloo line. These two stocks are already over forty years old and both are going to need more major refurbishment – the Bakerloo line in particular – just to get them to last until the New Tube for London comes along.

The price to be paid is employing drivers on the Piccadilly line for a lot longer than intended. This will probably cost London Underground around £30m per year for around 15 years, but this will be partially offset by earlier-than-otherwise-achievable automation on the Central line. The cost, though huge, is relatively small in relation to the entire New Tube for London plan. It also greatly reduces the element of risk as London Underground gets the best part of a decade to draw on the experience of automation on the Waterloo & City line before introducing it elsewhere.

A further potential benefit of introducing automation on the Central line before the Piccadilly is that the Central offers far more opportunities for introducing temporary shuttles, possibly off-peak only, for trying out or progressively implementing driverless operation. Another advantage is that the issue of joint running with the Metropolitan between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge does not need to be addressed for a further few years.

Signalling Progress

One of the very positive signs of New Tube for London progressing forward is seeing these papers presented as a matter of urgency and the reason behind them. The “Invitation to Negotiate” (ITN) has already been issued for the trains and now it is said that the signalling is on the critical path, and that there is a requirement to issue an ITN for the signalling.

Whilst the list of signalling option providers available for the SSR was somewhat small, the potentially massive and prestigious project to resignal the deep Tube lines should attract all the main players. Thales, with its TBTC system on the Northern and Jubilee lines and being installed on the sub-surface lines, is probably the safe but uninspiring bet. Siemens, no longer tied down by Crossrail or ERTMS development (on Thameslink in particular) and with, hopefully by then, an extremely good track record, will almost certainly become another contender. One would imagine that Bombardier would have a lot of reputational damage to overcome and would be very much an outsider. The joker in the pack could well be Hitachi, who have spent years trying to understand the UK rail market and are only now beginning to enjoy some successes. Their determination to be a major world, and especially European, player in both the train and the signalling market may well see resources made available that few would have expected a few years ago.

More costly than Crossrail?

Lord Adonis (and others) have in recent months talked about South London and the need to inject money “the equivalent of a Crossrail” to improve and upgrade existing services. This is talked about as if it were a revolutionary statement. In fact New Tube for London has an estimated final cost of £16.5bn. With Crossrail billed on the BBC as the £15bn railway it is actually cheaper than New Tube for London from a certain point of view, although these figures appear to be the expected outturn costs separated by a few years, so it is perhaps an an overly crude cost comparison.

A further reason why NTfL could be regarded as very much more expensive than Crossrail is that there are all sorts of funding options for Crossrail and, more especially, Crossrail 2. New Tube for London is essentially an extreme case of asset renewal and it is unlikely to attract funds from developers, oversite developments, section 106 grants or other forms of revenue associated with new projects.

So, at the other extreme, one could argue that a lot of the NtfL programme is simply about replacement with modern best practice and shouldn’t really be considered as investment at all. The programme is more than just replacement though and the increase in capacity, on the Piccadilly line in particular, really will come from a substantial infrastructure and rolling stock investment programme that arguably deserves to be placed in the same category as Crossrail or Thameslink.

Details trickle out

The latest papers, the most detailed of which is the one presented before the Finance & Policy Committee do not really tell us anything new about NTfL, but we do see some items confirmed in writing that were already known.


For the first time, we have written confirmation that NtfL will include uprating the voltage on the included lines from a nominal 630V to 750V. This will help reduce transmission losses and also mean more power can be applied to the motors. As transmission losses are inversely proportional to the square of the voltage and are significant on the Underground, this will have a beneficial effect that is higher than a 19% increase in voltage would suggest. In simple terms this one improvement produces three benefits – more power available to traction motors, a reduced energy bill due to less electricity being wasted in transmissions and reduced heat output.

Piccadilly line to Ealing Broadway

Part of the NtfL package involves the Piccadilly line taking over the District line to Ealing Broadway. We covered this in considerable detail in Upgrading the Piccadilly. TfL have been very strangely reluctant to confirm this, but many of their documents allude to it without explaining the exact intentions. The briefing for the Rail & Underground is no exception and the diagram refers to the “West London service change” whilst the text gives no indications as to what that is. It was unfortunate that the Rail & Underground panel decided, quite unnecessarily, to cover the entire NTfL topic under “part 2” arrangements which meant that the public were excluded, so even non-confidential issues were hidden from public view. They were probably entitled to do this, but it was hardly in the spirit of open democratic accountable governance. It meant that yet again any details of this proposal failed to come out into the public domain.

To actually see what the West London service change is, you actually have to look at Lord Adonis’s report Transport for a World City published by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) which feels obliged to mention it when it states:

Piccadilly line – A peak service level of 33-36 tph, with air-cooled, walk-through Underground trains, by 2025, over the current line geography, and possibly the Ealing Broadway branch currently served by the District line.

Unfortunately some of the dates and other details elsewhere are inconsistent with the briefings for various panels and the TfL board which suggests that, when it comes to NTfL, the NIC report cannot be relied on entirely for up-to-date exact detail.

Overcrowding Diagram

Forecast AM peak overcrowding 2031 – most severely affected Underground lines

What is also not apparent is why it is thought necessary to transfer this section of the Underground to the Piccadilly line. This was explained in a previous article, but it has since emerged that part of the rationale is to enable more District line trains to serve inner stations on the District line’s Wimbledon branch. The Adonis report has highlighted this on an overcrowding diagram. The overcrowding on this section of the District line is not expected to be resolved by Crossrail 2.

The curious omission of the Bakerloo line to Lewisham

The various panel and board reports on NTfL also fail to refer to the Bakerloo line extension to Lewisham. This is almost like reading about plans for the Northern line without having a mention of the extension to Battersea Power Station – but the Northern line extension is being built now whereas the Bakerloo line extension is currently an aspiration.

This omission is strange, as surely it must feature in the plans and be a major factor in constraining implementation options – as any option that does not provide new trains for the Bakerloo line and resignal the line prior to 2030 would suggest that the NTfL team do not sincerely believe that the Bakerloo line extension will happen. This despite it being very much the policy of the current Mayor and almost certainly that of any future one as well.

Stranger still is the Finance & Policy Panel report that states:

the order of the Central and Bakerloo modernisations has been reversed. With commitment of additional investment on existing Central line assets to secure their continued safety and reliability, the Bakerloo line modernisation has been prioritised ahead of the Central line to accelerate the replacement of the oldest trains on the network which are operating on the Bakerloo line. It is intended that the relative order of these two lines in the NTfL delivery sequence be kept under review, informed by emerging asset condition and available funding.

No mention whatsoever about prioritising the Bakerloo line ahead of the Central line so that the Bakerloo line upgrade is complete in time for the opening of the Lewisham extension.

Northern line

Finally, we keep mentioning this but, if the NTfL programme is serious and as future-proofed as it is supposed to be, it must surely follow that part or all of the Northern line should logically follow in from the current proposed end of the programme (around 2037) in time to replace at least some of the Northern line trains by 2040. There is probably an understandable desire not to formally include this in the NTfL programme – not least because it will considerably increase costs – but it surely must make sense to make some provision for this – if only to make sure that the contract for the trains includes options to supply further trains at a later date for another line, should the client wish to do so.

Lining Up the lines in a line

What us becoming clearer is how budgetary constraints are forcing a sequential upgrade of individual underground lines. The cost of any delay is going to have ramifications for years to come, with the first possible opportunity for a breather and a bit of slack sometime in the 2040s. The London Assembly is right to be concerned with money wasted on failed contracts, but the consequential delay may turn out to be an even bigger concern for future generations.

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There are 161 comments on this article
  1. timbeau says:

    “The [Waterloo & City line] ………., but with only two stations and no outdoor sections (and hence no issue with wet rails)”

    It can get pretty wet down there. Isn’t that why it’s called the Drain?

  2. Appreciation says:

    Thanks PoP for another fine article

  3. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    “As power available is proportional to the square of the voltage,

    oh no it isn’t


    no squared in this bit what so ever, the current draw at the traction motor / traction pack is effectively limited so the way to increase available power is voltage increase either directly by increasing the voltage (as above) or indirectly by reducing the losses (as below)

    and transmission losses are inversely proportional to the square of the voltage, this will have a disproportionally beneficial effect in both cases.”

    P = V*Q/t or V*I or with assumptions and caveats I^2*R or V^2/R

  4. Old Buccaneer says:

    It’s called the Drain because it smells. Some may think that the passengers are Sierra Hotel India tango sierra but I couldn’t possibly comment. Joseph Bazalgette thou shouldst be living at this hour.

    If I live to see it, it will be the third set of stock in my lifetime.

    Great clarity in your analysis as always PoP; thanks.

  5. Reynolds 953 says:

    I’ve re-read the article from January 2014 covering the possible PiccaDist changes and in the comments a lot of crayons were expended on options for Chiswick Park.

    I don’t suppose there is any more inkling about what might happen to that station after the “West London service change”?

  6. timbeau says:

    There are many theories about the nickname of the Waterloo & City Line, but the tunnels do get wet. Remember that with the exception of the C&SLR, which was heavily modified in the 1920s, it was the first Tube line under the Thames built using Greathead’s principles. (And, before someone mentioned the Brunel Tunnel, that also leaks)


    As power available is proportional to the square of the voltage

    Oh no it isn’t

    P = V^2/R


    It depends, of course, on what you are holding constant, but for a given resistance, power is indeed proportional to the square of the voltage.

    But likewise, P=I^2 R so, as you say, keep the current low (i.e the voltage high) and the power lost in heat over a given length of wire will be proportionately smaller.

  7. timbeau says:

    Surely the answer for Chiswick Park is to swap Uxbridge and Ealing between the Picc and the District – the clearances must surely be able to be returned to surface stock standard? This would remove the need for compromise height platforms beyond Rayners Lane, and Chiswick Park would continue to be operated by the District.

    If driverless trains and platform doors are introduced on one line or the other, making it difficult to have both lines calling at Ealing Common, than this can be dealt with by having one line non-stopping – no real safety issues if platform doors are there anyway. Or Ealing Broadway could be operated as a District shuttle from Ealing Common (turning back in the depot) or Acton Town.
    Crossrail might make the Ealing Broadway branch redundant anyway. Passenger flows post-Crossrail may, or may not, agree with the modellers’ forecasts.

  8. ngh says:

    Re timbeau,

    On the train the (max) current is effectively constant so unless you go for more or big traction motors which add lots of extra weight the the best bet is increasing voltage as the max voltage of an AC asynchronous or permanent magnet traction motor is higher than the safe voltage for 3rd or 4th rail systems (the only weight penalty is likely to be larger cooling fans) hence the on train limit is effectively set by P=VI (no R involved) getting the power to the train is another matter which is where restive loses do come into play. What sometimes confuses people is the minimum working voltage for the traction motor which then makes any increase in supply voltage to the train comparitively more useful.

  9. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    Agree swapping the branches looks logical for so many reasons but the TfL view point appears to be if the additional number of trains on the Piccadilly effectively equates to a District branch in tph terms then a simple transfer might make some sense especially if Crossrail take some of the load of Picc to Heathrow and the flow on the Ealing Broadway branch effectively reverses so it acts as feeder for CR.

    Also swapping the lines would need more S stock to cover Uxbridge branch but that doesn’t appear to be on any agenda at the moment.

  10. Pedantic of Purley says:


    The Drain might have been damp prior to the Metronet (?) refurbishment but, whatever else can be criticised about PPP, they did a pretty good job in getting the Waterloo & City dry – no mean achievement given the ex-marshlands it was built through.

    Actually it was damp, very damp, and London Underground were truly shocked when taking it over as they would never have allowed their tubes to degenerate to the state the Waterloo & City line did under British Rail.

    *head banging moment* swap Uxbridge and Ealing between the Picc and the District

    Don’t lose sight of the objective which is to increase the service on the Wimbledon branch (and, to a lesser priority, do the same on the Richmond branch). Swapping lines around won’t achieve that and for the most part would a pointless expensive exercise. Why are people so obsessed with swapping the Ealing Broadway and Uxbridge branches? The Underground is run for passengers. Making the Underground more neatly arranged is not advancing that objective. Running more trains where demand is greater and underprovided for is.

    In general, I will leave others to argue about square of the voltage. I know what I have repeatedly read and heard as a reason for raising it and merely repeat what was said. My schoolboy physics says W=VI and I = V/R so W=V²/R and so power is proportional to the square of the voltage in simplistic terms.

    Update: Having slept on it I think I can now see what ngh is getting at. I have rewritten the offending paragraph and hope it gets closer to meeting his approval.

  11. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – it’s the Finance and Policy Cttee not panel (at the start of the article).
    [Now corrected. Thanks. PoP]

    A few rambling observations.

    1. The concept of a rolling programme of line upgrades with works going on in parallel predates PPP. It goes back to several iterations of Asset Management Plans. LU as a business signed those off years ago and they were later reviewed again and incorporated into the PPP contracts.

    2. It is quite startling to think that the Picc Line upgrade will be probably a decade late. I used to sit alongside the “Picc Line upgrade team” way back in 2014. 😉 Obviously an awful lot has happened since then but I do wonder just how many times “the wheel has been reinvented” in the last 6 years and we’re clearly not yet at anything resembling a broadly agreed scope. On the subject of “lost revenue” the other element is the extent to which people are unable to use the current Picc Line due to a lack of capacity and are therefore enduring longer, slower sub optimal journeys for work or leisure purposes. There must be considerable time based disbenefits racking up for a long period of time but, of course, these are difficult to estimate with any accuracy.

    3. I expect there is no mention of Northern Line fleet replacement because there simply isn’t a plan that covers it yet. LU/TfL are doing very well if they can get a 10 year look ahead and a 5 year business plan. I can’t see the point of LU making any sort of even rough commitment about Northern Line fleet replacement when we don’t know what on earth is planned for the next 10 years. Further the sheer scale of doing the Picc, Bakerloo and Central is fraught with enormous risks of all kinds so it’s pointless making any sort of statement about the Northern Line’s future.

    4. While I accept your comment about the Bakerloo Line extension let’s be honest and say current Mayoral policy is, as of today, an irrelevance. He’s no longer got any influence over the delivery of that project and despite all the noise, bluster and consultations we’re not that much further forward really. I’d not be writing about a putative extension with no financial authority or legal powers when considering fleet replacement on the line. I dare say TfL will want to see what view and priority the next Mayor affords to the extension and then there might be some influence on the procurement authority / contract options for the fleet and resignalling elements.

    5. I would say that the line upgrades certainly constitute capital investment with a large element of asset replacement and a moderate element of enhancement to reflect changes in technology and functionality that any large project like this will deliver. If we end up with platform edge doors / gates for UTO or even ATO then that clearly is something brand new and expands the overall asset base on the lines affected. You will also get a great deal of process / maintenance enhancement off the back of these projects.

    6. I know this is rather stating the obvious but the London Assembly has been “after” LU and senior people for at least a year over the SSR resignalling. They wanted “heads on plates” as sacrificial offerings but LU and the Mayor have not obliged. However the Assembly has simply run out of time because of the electoral cycle. If there had been another year to go then I expect a much more thorough investigation would have been done and the report would probably have been far more pointed and more accurate. I was actually really surprised that something emerged when it did – feels a bit like a swansong to me. Of course the next Assembly will have four years to sink its teeth into progress on Jubilee / Northern “world class capacity” and progress of the NTfL procurement processes and the eventual deals.

  12. Greg Tingey says:

    Of course the next Assembly will have four years to sink its teeth into progress
    Err .. if we get a “Fares Freeze”, no they won’t, because there won’t be any progress, because there’ll be no money.
    [Snip PoP]

  13. And this highlights the downside of lower fares or a fares freeze. A saving grace for the introduction of the new trains may well be that, at for least the trains themselves, they may pay their own way. This would make the case for the upgrade easier to make – it doesn’t matter how high the BCR is if you can’t actually afford to pay for the benefit.

    So the question should be: would you rather have lower fares to travel more cheaply on a train you can’t actually get on or higher fares and be able to board the train.

  14. 100andthirty says:

    A few rambling thoughts.

    The section of the article re SSR overruns is based on a very ill informed report from the LA, and has done what is so often the case of putting an official badge on a lot of disparate material ranging from informed speculation with some facts and giving it a badge of authority.

    SSR’s problems are many and various. LU inherited the project from Metronet, whose own team seemed to believe the hype that they were carrying out a rolling stock and signalling upgrade and that everything else was in good order. Even people in their own team who recognised this as nonsense were treated as Jonahs. When LU inherited the programme, little physical work had been done, except on the trains. It decided, in its infinite wisdom, to leave the then current SSR signalling supplier behind. This added cost straight away, but there was confidence, misplaced in my view, that the programme could be held and a new contract placed in 12 months. So if the LA wanted heads, they should have been looking for the common heads between the two signalling decisions, and look back on the very earliest estimates for the job.

    For the driverless W and C, the most critical place for stopping accurately and safely is actually in the headshunt at Waterloo which is largely in the open.

    The principle of the New Tube for London was that LU would have a tube train that could be as good in terms of passenger amenity, (air conditioning), circulation (gangways between cars) and boarding and alighting (all double doors) as S stock. The notion of a series of lines with the same basic design from the same supplier was developed to provide sufficient volume to encourage suppliers to design a new train configuration. There is no doubt that a train supplier could supply all the trains needed over 6 years. The issue is whether LU could do all the enabling works and train all the staff in time. Train suppliers have the benefit of working in factories, enabling works have to be fitted in around service operation and maintenance!

    Hitachi have recently acquired Ansaldo (controlling interest at least) and thus, by acquisition, do have UK signalling experience (Cambrian ETCS at least).

  15. KitGreen says:

    Timbeau 23.16

    I am about to finish reading LTC Rolt’s 1957 biography of IK Brunel.

    The author describes his recent (presumably mid 1950s) walk through the Thames tunnel:
    “Although water was continually pumped out of the tunnel it was interesting to observe that this comes entirely from the adjoining tunnels built in 1865, flowing down a culvert into the bottom of the dip under the river. The original Brunel tunnel is perfectly dry…”

    That was over sixty years ago so things must have changed at some point prior to the refurbishment of relatively recent years if the problem addressed was leakage.

  16. Guano says:

    “If a builder offers to build you a house for £100,000 but cannot stick to the contract and you find actually have to pay £1m to someone else get the job done, then it is hard to argue that you have lost £900,000. The truth is that unknown to you, from that outset, getting it built for £100,000 was never achievable.”

    When I employ a builder, I also usually employ an architect who can advise me on the reputation of the builder and the likelihood that the job can be done for the quoted price. In the case of the SSL re-signalling, it would appear that either there was no-one who was responsible for making those judgements or that there was but they got it wrong. Do we yet know which it was and what the lessons are for procurement of this type?

  17. Mikey C says:

    A fascinating article as always. I’m slightly puzzled by this line

    “TfL estimates that there will be 11 million fewer journeys a year and that this will cost it £271m in lost fares income.”

    Is there a direct correlation like this? People don’t think “The Piccadilly Line upgrade has been delayed, I won’t use travel to the West End”. If London’s population is growing, and people have to get around, then they don’t really have much choice surely?

  18. timbeau says:

    ““If a builder offers to build you a house for £100,000 but cannot stick to the contract and you find actually have to pay £1m to someone else get the job done, then it is hard to argue that you have lost £900,000. The truth is that unknown to you, from that outset, getting it built for £100,000 was never achievable.”

    Indeed, you may not have lost £900k, but if you budgeted for £100k there is now a £900k hole in your budget. (Or possibly £1m if the builder has got your £100k and you have nothing to show for it)

    I understand Guano’s point: somewhere there would have to be an incompetent quantity surveyor for that to happen. And of course if he has quoted (rather than estimated) £100,000, he is contractually bound to do it for the quoted price, so it is the builder who would lose £900k. (Little comfort to either of you if he goes bust though)

  19. marckee says:

    @Mikey C

    There is a correlation, broadly expressed as, “If you build it, they will come.” (i.e. Induced Demand)

    What this means for transport planning has been demonstrated by studying and quantifying the effects that increasing frequency, speed and reliability have on the preferred mode of transport and also on the additional economic activity that such an investment unlocks. There’s a decent summary in this article, which teases out the different benefits that are able to be delivered via public transport investment, even if they do not ‘relieve congestion’:

  20. ngh says:

    Re Mikey C,

    If you can’t actually get on a train and it is well known you can’t get on then people live elsewhere or travel via different means take Putney /Wandsworth Town where it is hard to get on SWT trains which leads to a very high cycle commuting usage (longer trains being rapidly filled when they have eventually arrived several years late with more to come)

    Re Guano,

    (in your example a QS is usually a good idea too and your own quick estimates using RICs or equivalent costings is usually a good plan)
    The report suggests a bit of both – not enough resource to do that kind of “thinking” and getting it wrong.
    The tender process effectively allowed cost to trump technical criteria and the US signalling arm of Bombardier (ex US Westinghouse Signal heritage) who bid recognised this and bid to win…

    In general the old addage:
    Choose 2 from Time, Quality, Cost comes to mind.

    Re 130,

    Hitachi (non Ansaldo) are also doing the traffic management element of the Thameslink signalling.
    Hitachi (Ansaldo) got the recent signalling contract for driverless Glasgow tube upgrade.
    I think Hitachi have now recently bought out the remaining minority shareholders.
    Ansaldo reputation for their NR equipment isn’t anywhere near as good as it could be though.

  21. Malcolm says:

    @Mikey: A lot of travel is optional. Trips to museums, obviously. Much shopping and sightseeing. Even some work trips, where face-to-face meetings are preferred, but can be omitted if getting there is seen as too awful. So the thinking is more like: “Last time I went on the Picadilly Line it was mighty unpleasant. I’ll do it another way (watch telly, buy locally, use the phone, or whatever)”. Such a decision can be made without needing to know that the awfulness was caused by a delay in the upgrade.

  22. lmm says:

    @Mikey C at the margin though, people may decide whether to go out or stay in based on how crowded the tube is. Or whether to take a highly paid job that involves a longer commute. Or where to put their business.

  23. timbeau says:

    @Mikey C
    “People don’t think “The Piccadilly Line upgrade has been delayed, I won’t use travel to the West End”. ”

    I think the point is not that people will decide not to travel, but that it will be physically impossible. There will be some who decide not to travel – maybe change jobs or, if they can, retire earlier than they might have done. Others may drive, or take the bus, or cycle. All lost revenue to TfL

    “the most critical place for stopping accurately and safely is actually in the headshunt at Waterloo which is largely in the open”
    There is actually a large hinged lid covering the depot space. At present it is made of meshwork, but it could be glazed if water were a serious problem.
    https:[email protected],-0.1108812,3a,75y,13.82h,84.92t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sGW3m_iU8eNWVtAtKZPvoRQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Seen here in the open position
    (the tracks in the foreground are on the road, they have just been removed through the hole as part of replacement work.)

  24. Graham H says:

    @Mikey C/marckee – there is a clear difference between build it and they will come, and the effects of suppressed demand. The former is the home turf of crayonistas, the latter the stuff of transport planners. In the latter case, it is important to understand that the relationships, sometimes described as “elasticities” to a particular factor such as price, quality and so on, are not linear. Go on increasing the frequency, for example, and you eventually find that the marginal train is generating much less traffic than the previous addition to the service.

  25. timbeau says:

    “*head banging moment* Don’t lose sight of the objective [of transferring Ealing to the Piccy] which is to increase the service on the Wimbledon branch”

    *head banging moment*
    Once upon a time there was a plan to relieve the Wimbledon branch by building a new line through central London to Fulham Broadway, and then take over the southern end of that branch. Whatever happened to that?

  26. marckee says:

    @Graham H

    Oh, sure, but this is about increasing capacity (and reliability) through an established, overworked, line, rather than a crayonista’s desire to ‘unlock’ geographical areas. In this instance I think “build it and they will come” still stands as a broad summary.

    And yes, they aren’t linear, but they have been quantifiably modelled and demonstrated, which was the main gist.

  27. Graham H says:

    @marckee- indeed, no building with an established line, so the stimulus for demand is not the building of the line (job done) but the characteristics of the service offered. The modelling is, however, notoriously incomplete – the PDFH, for example, assumes that the relationships are indeed linear. This is because it’s been calibrated on fairly small movements in the relevant factors – a 5% increase here, or a 7 % there. For such small movements, relationships do indeed appear to be linear, and reflect the bulk of changes likely to be observed. For larger movements, observations are much fewer – huge fares rises, or very large increases in frequency are,obviously, unusual. There are also very real difficulties in analysing some of the softer factors such as quality.

  28. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Mikey C – it sounds like that £271m number is done by “reversing out” the business case for the upgrade. If you take the assumed customer benefit / revenue generation for the upgrade being delivered in timescale A and then compare it to a later timescale B you will get a “delta” and that is what is being quoted. Clearly a share of the benefit will arise from the delivery of additional capacity bringing congestion relief for existing users and some from space for extra people who may have used other modes or who are attracted into the areas served by the line. If people are assumed to transfer from bus services, for example, I’d expect to see the assumed revenue loss to the bus network be reflected in the business case. However TfL will most likely be better off overall given tube fares are higher than on buses. Without seeing the detail of TfL’s analysis it’s impossible to split out the respective shares of revenue / benefit.

    @ 100andthirty – interesting that your view of when the “SSR malaise” started goes back a bit further than I’d imagined.

    @ Ngh – I am not sure I quite agree with your comment that Bombardier somehow spotted an over emphasis on cost rather than technical capability. At the time there was all the collective hubris about how fabulous the signalling and upgrading works were in Madrid and Paris and how appalling the Thales / Tube Lines resignalling of the Jubilee Line had been. I suspect a number of people who should really have known better suspended their hard won cynicism / rigour and were convinced about cost, the technical solution and ease of deliverability. A case of “anything’s better than the nightmare we’ve endured on PPP / Jubilee Line”. Don’t underestimate the ability of organisational culture to have a “field day” when it wants to by embracing the “new and shiny” and forgetting the lessons of reality.

  29. marckee says:

    @Graham H

    I think we can agree that the £271m figure, as with all of those in the report, is likely to be a little ‘woolly’ – it’s a hypothetical based upon many factors, and even then the methodology excludes huge drivers behind passenger demand. I’ve yet to see a modelling methodology that has successfully grappled with the ‘Great Inversion’ trend that we’ve seen in London over the past 20 years, and I’m unconvinced that any of them have really got a handle on the next phase of this trend .

  30. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Guano (and others),

    I realise my example of building a house was, in retrospect, bad. I should have said extending an old existing house for a proper analogy. Whereas costing a new house is a relatively exact science, costing an upgrade to an existing property is fraught with problems. In both cases, but more so with the upgrade, architects would be pretty useless at being able to give a good guide to costs and a good architect would admit that.

    As timbeau says, there is always the option of suing. In the case of the builder that would probably achieve nothing as he will declare bankruptcy. It isn’t really practical in the case of the the signalling upgrade programme. To get the evidence of unsatisfactory work you would probably need to provide Bombardier with a little more rope in the form of more time – but, I would argue, time is the thing you do not have.

    Something completely overlooked by people, myself included, until it was recently pointed out to me is that the signalling upgrade is basically a three company co-operative project between LU (infrastructure), Thales (signalling) and Bombardier (trains). Until very recently, like after I wrote the article, I hadn’t appreciated how much Bombardier is still playing a large part in the signalling upgrade. You basically need them to be onside and co-operative whatever you might feel about them. Suing them – even if you do eventually win the case – or at being at odds with them is probably not a good strategy . It may be that an amicable break from the original contract (even if through gritted teeth) was the most sensible and best way forward.

    Finally, it has also been pointed out to me that with advances in signalling just about every signalling contract for a metro involves the supplier offering to sell and promising a product he does not have at the time of the contract. Crossrail and Thameslink are really no different in this respect. You can demand tried and tested technology but that means reducing capacity. The alternative is to take a bit of a gamble but minimise risk. We can argue for ever as to what really went wrong with the resignalling contract but possibly the biggest mistake was not to oversee what was actually happening as there was too much keenness to have a competitive tender. Don’t forget that a few years ago it was Thales, now the golden boy, who couldn’t get their signalling to work on the Jubilee line.

  31. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    The report (I’ll re read that bit at some point and do a more detailed comment) suggested that if the initial sift had been done on technical ability and implementation record, Bombardier wouldn’t have made the the short list based on their scoring. There were also various comments about undue weighting based on financial element of the tender where Bombardier scored very well and is was easier to comparatively score better than competitors to such an extent that it could outweigh other elements.
    Some of their example schemes were slightly questionable e.g. airport transit systems

    Re PoP

    95%+ of episodes of “Grand Designs” probably provide good examples.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Why is the bakerloo line not being automated?

  33. Guano says:

    PoP at 15:27

    “Finally, it has also been pointed out to me that with advances in signalling just about every signalling contract for a metro involves the supplier offering to sell and promising a product he does not have at the time of the contract …….. possibly the biggest mistake was not to oversee what was actually happening as there was too much keenness to have a competitive tender. ”

    Indeed. It is like rebuilding a house with experimental materials. A great deal of oversight is required. I get the impression that some of the contracts on this project have been signed without fully appreciating that.

  34. 100andthirty says:

    I am sure the Bakerloo will get ATO, but the lengthy shared section with Overground trains precludes all the usual things that are used to help manage risk with unattended trains such as Platform Edge Doors. Overground and NTfL will inevitably have different door spacing. LU has also been quite keen on being in overall control of any automated line. Now the Watford Junction to Queen’s Park section could be transferred, but it’s not on anyones’s agenda at the moment.

  35. Guano, 100andthirty,

    Sloppy writing on my behalf – now corrected. I meant the Bakerloo was never intended to run without a driver at the front of the train.

  36. Ryan says:

    Isn’t the suggestion of swapping the Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway lines derived from the challenge of integrating SSL signalling systems? Once the Piccadilly is removed from the Metropolitan tracks, there is no more overlap other than non-passenger crossovers for Neasden depot.

  37. Taz says:

    The Bakerloo only justifies 27tph service, which would not benefit from costs of full automation, platform doors, etc. However, plans for increased service for Lewisham and beyond extension would see full automation, presumably as far as Queens Park where front of train attendant would board.

  38. Steve L says:

    Swapping Ealing Broadway and Uxbridge would remove one of the 2 main groups of “compromise height” platforms, leaving just Ealing Common and north of Queen’s Park. Transferring the Watford DC to the Bakerloo would remove that second major group, although it would require compromise height at Watford High Street.

  39. Edmonton 'Eadcase says:

    I believe that the wheelchair access requirements will see compromise height platforms abolished in the long run, and I suspect that there are people in LU with one eye on how best to do this on the Uxbridge branch, even if it isn’t their highest priority.

  40. Edmonton 'Eadcase says:

    Sorry Steve, we posted similar messages at a similar time.

    I believe new compromise height platforms at Watford High Street will not be allowed.

  41. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @PoP – it is also worth saying that LU is not only responsible for the infrastructure. It is also responsible for setting out the signalling and operating requirements that it wants. To the extent that a new technological solution has impacts on other infrastructure and its maintenance / renewal then, again, LU is in the driving seat of setting out what it wants or how it will it safely manage the impacts. It also has to create the new operating rules, training etc and ensure that extra drivers are recruited while existing drivers are trained on the new signalling. There is also all the work involved for new control rooms / control room systems. This was an enormous task on the Jubilee Line which was the first conversion from manual to ATO on LU in quite a long time. The Vic Line upgrade doesn’t count in quite the same way because it was about maintaining automatic operation and managing a phased upgrade.

    I only had a tiny insight but it was clear from comments about “lessons learnt” I heard from several Line GMs that the sheer scale of these tasks on the Jubilee Line took people by surprise. However all that accumulated experience was put to good use on the Northern Line resignalling as was the requisite engineering and project management experience. I would hope that this double set of experience is also now being brought to bear on the SSR resignalling. The really big issue on SSR is the sheer scale of the work and the geographic spread – I imagine that is causing its own issues.

  42. Ian J says:

    @Taz: The Bakerloo only justifies 27tph service, which would not benefit from costs of full automation, platform doors, etc. However, plans for increased service for Lewisham and beyond extension would see full automation

    The logical deduction from the fact that automation is not included in the plan before 2040 then would be that LU have no plans to extend the Bakerloo line in that time frame, despite the warm words from the outgoing Mayor.

    @PoP: I am a little puzzled by the statement in the article that:

    It was unrealistic to mix old manually driven stock and new driverless stock driverless on the same line, since the former prohibits platform edge doors under current rules

    Does this mean that the rules have changed since the Jubilee Line extension ran with fully manually driven stock and platform edge doors? If so, why?

  43. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Ian J,

    Does this mean that the rules have changed since the Jubilee Line extension ran with fully manually driven stock and platform edge doors? If so, why?

    Yes, it was. Because manually driven the trains could not stop as accurately as they can under ATO and HMRI (as I think it then was) were unhappy that the doors did not always line up. I think there was a remark from the head of HMRI that he would never again sanction platform edge doors with manually driven trains.

  44. Taz says:

    @Ian J 23 March 2016 at 01:10 I don’t know where you sourced 2040 to make your ‘logical deduction’. The London Infrastructure Plan 2050 showed the extension opening 2040 with 27tph, boosted with full automation in 2045. More recent consultation has suggested opening to Lewisham in 2030, presumably not requiring full automation until demand builds. The NTfL programme is currently only a plan without funding apart from design and development. It is intended to only order the Piccadilly trains initially with options for further trains. It is stated that the Bakerloo and Central order may be reviewed, depending upon the needs of each line. No doubt a Lewisham order could be incorporated, and perhaps 17 trains for the Northern line if the current proposal does not get through.

  45. Taz says:

    Design work for an articulated tube train was well advanced in 1998 (see ). Intended to replace the original trains on the Victoria line, all work ceased with the PPP encouraging use of tried and tested equipment. Only the Metronet failure led to a revival, with the Bakerloo trains now to be replaced by LU. An order for only 42 trains could not carry the development costs, so the Central line replacements were added to the plans. Then, with the withdrawal of Tube Lines, new trains for the Piccadilly line had also to be added. At times there was also mention of additional trains for the Northern line, but that scheme has been replaced by ‘more of the same’ there instead. So the NTfL concept will be near 25 years old when the first trains arrive! Of course, an articulated tube train was earlier being developed for the Northern line but, with the urgent need for new trains for the Heathrow extension, the 1972/73 stock orders retained conventional bodies and bogies. It is odd that their replacements will eventually bring the long awaited articulation. Consideration of maximum body length and bogie spacing in connection with those articulation studies resulted in trains of fewer but longer cars being adopted in 1973 and most subsequent LU deliveries.

  46. Caspar Lucas says:

    Skimming the 1998 article, it looks like “Space Train” was a very different concept from NTfL.

  47. Ian J says:

    @Taz: I don’t know where you sourced 2040 to make your ‘logical deduction’

    From the chart in this very article. It goes to 2040 with no mention of any further capacity uplift or automation for the Bakerloo past the late 2020s.

    The 2050 plan is full of pie in the sky stuff (Boris Airport, for example), that will never happen. The National Infrastructure Commission has just explicitly ruled out any national funding for the Bakerloo Line extension.

    New Tube for London is politically essential because any Mayor who fails to take steps to deal with overcrowding on existing tube lines will find themselves in a world of trouble, and because the Piccadilly, for example, has a 4:1 BCR (see link below): a Bakerloo extension is a “nice to have” at best and struggles to get a BCR near 2.

    The NTfL programme is currently only a plan without funding apart from design and development

    Are you sure about that? The latest board paper shows an existing financial authority for NTfL of £3,969.3m – not all of the total final cost of £16,511.4m, but much of that total would be beyond the current business planning horizon. LU would need project authority from the Board to spend that money of course, but they wouldn’t be going out to tender unless there was a strong likelihood of approval to spend the money.

    @PoP: I think there was a remark from the head of HMRI that he would never again sanction platform edge doors with manually driven trains

    But manually driven trains with platform edge doors are still safer than any kind of trains without platform edge doors (ie haven’t there been more fatal person under train accidents on the Victoria Line than the Jubilee Line extension?) – so there is a danger of the best being the enemy of the good if it delays installation of any platform edge doors until after all new trains are in service and running with ATO. The 17 March board paper confirms that the Piccadilly Line trains will be manually driven at first and judging by the chart, it will be 5 years beyond that before ATO is fully operating.

  48. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian J
    New Tube for London is politically essential because any Mayor who fails to take steps to deal with overcrowding on existing tube lines will find themselves in a world of trouble

    That may depend upon:
    1. Is said Mayor seeking to run for a second term?
    2. Can said Mayor blame someone else, say the Treasury?
    3. Can said Mayor claim there isn’t a problem at all & get away with it?
    All of which are, unfortunately, all too possible.

    Your comments on funding, of course, though perfectly true are still at the whim of HMT, are they not?
    [Snip. PoP]

  49. 100andthirty says:

    A few of comments………….

    1) Articulated train experiments have been going on for a long time. Indeed, LU converted one of the 1935 tube stock 2 car prototypes to a 2 body/3 bogie set in the late ’60’s/early ’70s’ s using special prototype bogies (3 piece aluminium and metacones for the motor bogies and steel box section with metacones for the articulated bogie). I once drove it in Acton Works when I was a trainee. I think trying two separate experiments on the same job was one of the reasons it didn’t move forward as was declining passenger numbers together with a political imperative for more new trains. I felt at the time that articulation was a bit of a solution looking for a problem, but looking back on the leaders of the da,y I can see that they were seeing the same opportunities that my colleagues and I saw 30 years later. Its just that the demand wasn’t there at the time. As Taz said, Space Train was scuppered by PPP.

    2) Articulation was revived during the mid 2000’s as a solution to a number of passenger facing issues (see my post 9.28 22 March above) and articulation facilitated all of them. Fewer bogies gives more underframe space for the air conditioning, no end throws allows the gangways without them being excessively long, the bodies (being effectively the centre sections of conventional tube cars) allow all double doors and, as there are more cars, there are more doorways. Also a slightly better platform train interface is possible. All this will facilitate more frequent trains and at least minimise increases in station dwells as crowding increases.

    3) I carried out a review of PTI incidents on the Jubilee line a couple of years ago, and the frequency of incidents on the Platform Edge Door section was very low, and as Ian J said, there had been no fatalities (and very few reported injuries). The drivers originally experienced problems anticipating exactly where to stop as there were no advance cues (eg seeing the headwall coming towards you). All the driver saw was a line of apparently identical doors. Eventually improved signs were, I believe, fitted before ATO made them redundant!

    4) The Chief Inspector of HM Railway Inspectorate may well have said what he said in relation to manual driving and PEDs, but Chief Inspectors’ utterances don’t bind their organisation irrevokably to what might be justified by appropriate safety engineering and risk management.

    5) for the NTfL lines it it the different door spacing between old and new that will preclude PEDs until all the old trains on the line have gone.

  50. Mark Townend says:

    @Pedantic of Purley, 23 March 2016 at 05:12
    “I think there was a remark from the head of HMRI that he would never again sanction platform edge doors with manually driven trains.”

    I’m sure a ‘final stop position assist’ system for door alignment could be devised (at a cost) without full ATO being necessary, so this seems a bit of an extreme statement. Modern metro signalling seems to incorporate ATO as a a fairly standard feature today however, and even on Thameslink the ETCS/ATO hybrid under development specifies stopping accuracy that would be suitable for PEDs if they were provided.

    It is future higher level UTO (unattended train operation) functionality that represents unknown territory as far as London in concerned, but that is not about signalling and arrival stopping positions which are exactly the same as for ATO , but rather additional systems and procedures required for dispatching trains safely in the absence of a supervising human in the loop (on the train at least). PED’s are usually considered a prerequisite for UTO.

  51. Greg Tingey says:

    [Off topic bit snipped, rest assured it was not about branches or engine sounds 🙂 LBM]

    Articulated train experiments have been going on for a long time. Indeed, LU converted one of the 1935 tube stock 2 car prototypes to a 2 body/3 bogie set in the late ’60’s/early ’70s’ s using special prototype bogies
    Considerably longer than that. AFAIK, the first articulated sets, which were specifically intended for use in the London area, incidentally, date back to …
    1906 – special “Sheffield” stock for GNR`
    1907 – experiment with articulating old Howlden stock for both suburban & longer-distance workings.
    1910/11 – start of general construction of fully articulated 4-car sets ( “Quad-Arts” ) for GNR London suburban services.
    [ Source: “Gresley’s Coaches” – ISBN 0 7153 5935 5 ]

  52. 100andthirty says:

    Greg Tingey…….my remarks were intended to apply solely to LU and its predecessors following on from a previous comment. However your references are very interesting.

  53. timbeau says:

    Indeed, although I think CXXX was referring to articulation in the context of tube stock.

    Articulated trams were trialled in America in the 1890s, although in this form of articulation there were three bodies on two trucks
    (known as “two rooms and a bath” !)

    And a Bostonian “low floor” version from 1912!

    The Variobahn trams on Tramlink are a modern variation on this theme, with two floating sections (“baths”)

  54. 100andthirty says:

    Timbeau… took a little while to realise that CXXX was referring to me. I haven’t been addressed in Latin since I was at school!

  55. timbeau says:

    …..and by the way, the world’s first articulated locomotive was built in 1832

  56. KitGreen says:


    William Chapman built a locomotive in the 1820s that was on two four wheel bogies with I think a chain driving both ends. Whether this would be a true articulated engine is open to debate (elsewhere….).

  57. Caspar Lucas says:

    Timbeau 14.59: was that definitely articulated? The drawing isn’t clear enough but the link to it doesn’t refer to articulation. Now, when I was about seven I recall climbing from end to end along the top of the 59 class Garratt in Nairobi Railway Museum – that was a real articulated locomotive (and I wouldn’t dare do it now…).

  58. Fandroid says:

    Great article and great comments.

    The need for informed/expert client staff in a highly technical customer like LUL is a personal hobby horse. As background information to place alongside the SSL signalling history, it would be quite informative to know how much LUL’ s internal expertise waxed and waned over the decades. Also, in relation to the Bombardier tender, whether internal technical advice was shunned in favour of the enthusiasm of the procurement wonks. How do the JLE signalling trauma and its following Northern Line learning of lessons fit in time against the SSL saga?

  59. Taz says:

    Is NTfL an ongoing development of the Spacetrain concept, or was a fresh start made?

  60. timbeau says:

    @caspar Lucas

    Essentially a double bogie arrangement, and hence the forerunner of Fairlies, Garretts and nearly all diesel and electric locomotives!

  61. 100andthirty says:

    Taz…..Impossible to say for sure, as the architects of what became NTfL were well aware of Space Train even though Space Train’s architects were dispatched to Metronet.

  62. Ian J says:

    @Greg Tingey: Your comments on funding, of course, though perfectly true are still at the whim of HMT, are they not?

    As I understand it the money is included in the 1.2bn a year capital investment in TfL’s business plan (p.69). About 1bn a year of this comes from the investment grant which Westminster has committed to for the next five years. The rest is from property development etc and borrowing. There is actually a 500m a year surplus projected on TfL’s capital account.

    @Mark Townend: even on Thameslink the ETCS/ATO hybrid under development specifies stopping accuracy that would be suitable for PEDs if they were provided

    Given the large passenger volumes expected on various platforms in the Thameslink core, and the enormous disruption incidents could cause, it wouldn’t surprise me if they end up being fitted at places like St Pancras Low Level.

  63. NickBXN says:

    re. Mark Townend 12:13 – I don’t think UTO issues stop with safe dispatch either, there is also the question of dealing with emergency situations. Through comments on another article (forget which) a link to an official report into a Piccadilly train fire due to arcing some years ago made very interesting reading: Although there had been some errors in procedure and considerable communication problems, there is no doubt that the quick thinking and competence of on-board staff saved lives.

    The thought of an incapacitated single track deep Tube with no staff at crush capacity involving any smoke, fire, or worse, doesn’t bear thinking about a the best of times. The first few minutes are critical, and there wouldn’t even be anyone on hand to short the traction current, even if operation of the train end evacuation doors in flip-down mode were simple enough for the un-instructed. I just don’t see how that sort of scenario can be handled from a control room only, however much power failure-proof CCTV and ‘tech’ may be in place. The very contemplation of UTO in connection with Ntfl suggests to me that there is some basic common sense risk assessment still to do.

  64. TonyB says:

    “It was much more likely that the lack of a specific commitment was really an honest reflection of their being some doubt”
    … there being …

    “As transmission losses are inversely proportional to the square of the voltage”

    This statement is true at constant power, as loss times square of the voltage is a constant.

    Here is a simplified example. Suppose that the traction current is 1000A and over a certain length of track, exact distance unimportant, the voltage drops due to resistance from 630V to 580V.

    Thus the resistance is voltage drop / current = 50/1000 Ohms and the resistive loss is 50kW (current * voltage drop, or current squared * resistance, or voltage drop squared / resistance).

    Increasing the voltage to 750V at same power of 630kW reduces current to 840A (630000/750) and hence voltage drop to 42V (840*50/1000). Resistive loss now is 35.28kW (840*42 or 840*840*50/1000 or 42*42*1000/50).

    50/35.28 = 750*750/630*630 or 50*630*630 = 35.28*750*750.

  65. Ian J says:

    @Taz, 130:

    There are some interesting drawings of Space Train concepts from 1998 here. It would have been even more radical than NTfL: 11 metre long articulated cars, lower floor heights, smaller wheels, three axle bogies, and overhead power collection. The lower floor would have required platform alterations and presumably would have ruled out air conditioning. The article mentions “fully-automatic operation” without defining it.

    See also an interior model shot here and a model of a 6-wheeled bogie here – both I think in store at Acton. Also a close-up of the folding gap filler beneath each door.

  66. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian J
    Thanks for that – it reassures me, & hopefully others too, that in this case at lleast, there will be no sudden cut-off of funds.
    However the general point remains, about vulnerability of London’s Transport ( & other, but let’s not go there! ) finances being largely outside of local control. Which is a national political issue.
    As PoP is hinting, it is NOT to be discussed in this thread, but I am making a plea for a proper grown-up discussion of this very difficult subject at a later date. Whoever writes the initial article is going to have an uphill task, though.

  67. 100andthirty says:

    Ian J

    Commenting on the features one by one;

    11 metre long articulated cars…..this length remains more or less for NTfL

    Lower floor heights,………..were enabled by ……..

    Smaller wheels……..which provide challenges for guiding wheels though points.

    Three axle bogies………were necessary to reduce the axle load to within the limits allowed for the smaller wheels. Engineering three axle bogies to curve well especially in such a small size is far from straightforward.

    Overhead power collection………. was shown to be feasible in tube tunnels as the RG article suggested. What wasn’t so easy was a) delivering the conversion without shutting the line, removing the old trains, fitting the conductor rail and then opening with new trains and b) protecting the overhead conductor rail from being touched as it would have been mighty close to the tops of doorways.

    The whole exercise was rather like the concept cars shown at motor shows. They rarely make it into production but the ideas inform future models. The Space Train showed how much space could be found inside the tube envelope. However, even if the points made above had been solved, the shape of the train would have radically altered airflows in tunnels and there was considerable doubt that there would be enough space for properly sized traction motors, and other control equipment, let alone air conditioning. The fact that the new Victoria line trains have more space inside than those they replaced, especially headroom, is directly related to the work of the engineers who worked on the Space Train concept.

  68. timbeau says:

    An overhead conductor rail would surely have reduced headroom, which is already pretty tight in a tube train. Even without a negative rail standing proud of the running rails, lowering the floor sufficiently to compensate for this is unlikely to be possible, even if you could adjust all the platform heights as well.

  69. 100andthirty says:

    Timbeau…….. the Railway Gazette article said that the total height of the train would be reduced slightly to accommodate the rail and with the floor height being reduced to be more or less level with the platform, there was enough space.

  70. Mark Townend says:

    @Timbeau, @100andthirty

    A useful feature of a relocated power rail system would be to clear the trackbed of obstructions so making it a much safer escape and emergency access route. A rail affixed to the tunnel ceiling above the train would still be fairly close to evacuating passengers’ and emergency workers’ heads however so would probably have to be discharged during such a scenario. Emergency onboard lighting and even slow speed movement capability is much better maintained by onboard batteries anyway. Clearing the trackbed of obstructions could also be achieved by abandoning the centre power rail and switching to a 3rd rail only supply system. With both running rails isolated form Earth on insulated pads and with no track circuits in a modern signalling system to share electrical commonality with, there should be no appreciable leakage of return current to cause iron tunnel segment erosion, or scope for impedance bond and other TC equipment fires (as experienced occasionally on surface track circuit equipped 3rd rail, and clearly highly undesirable in a tunnel setting). The resistance of the running rails for traction return current would be relatively high however, compared to that of the dedicated power return rail being replaced. That could be improved significantly by bonding both rails frequently to an additional heavy aluminium ‘drain conductor’ running the length of the tunnel. That cable must also be maintained well insulated from earth to discourage leakage. The space between the running rails could thus be largely cleared of obstructions and would form a much safer and more effective emergency access to and from trains in distress.

  71. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Aren’t there pits between the tracks like there are at stations? I must confess I haven’t had the chance to take a walk down a running tunnel!

  72. Malcolm says:

    No, the pits (which used to be nicknamed suicide pits) are only at stations. You can generally see the end of them by peering into the tunnel from near the end of the platform – please do not endanger yourself while so doing. Instances of train evacuation by walking along the track, though rare, have happened often enough to demonstrate some of the difficulties, and multiple trip hazards are significant ones, justifying efforts to “declutter”.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Going back to the W & C being wet. Don’t I recall something about there originally being no truly waterproof floor. I have lately seen photos of the rebuilt line, which seem to show something much more like typical modern concrete tube lining rings , the original being just a brick arch of course. I wonder if the new lining goes all the way past Blackfriars along Victoria Street and right up to Bank station, does any one know? Its relevant for those crayonistas who had thoughts of a Blackfriars interchange station – Very difficult but not absolutely impossible?

  74. Nameless says:

    24 March 2016 at 15:44

    “the original being just a brick arch of course” – I don’t think so.

    Like all the other deep tunnels, cast iron segments were bolted together to form a continuous tube. Hence the generally used term “tube”.

    In more recent years prefabricated concrete segments have been used instead of cast iron.

  75. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous of 1544 – as I may have remarked (and straying close to forbidden territory), I did ask our engineers c1991 to investigate putting an intermediate station at BFRS (at the time the City was offering NSE funding for a major project “of our choice”). It is certainly feasible but required an additional train set. We didn’t progress it further, Chris Green’s clear preference was for City TLK, and that has proved to be a great success. Now, one might express doubts as to whether the line could cope with the extra traffic without the benefits of NTfL and some work to take longer trains. But that is as probably as far and as near from/to topic as we had better go…

  76. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ian J – thanks for the link to the DfT’s funding letter. Makes interesting reading. I’m afraid I’m not as “rosy” as you appear to be about TfL’s funding. There are all sorts of possible issues and the SoS has, not surprisingly, reserved the department’s position to come back and revisit everything. There are also some very telling “get out” clauses for the future where the DfT are expecting to be “held harmless” by TfL in respect of Crossrail running to Reading, any future transfers of rail services and also the planned removal of the Overground grant in 4 year’s time. There is also the extremely telling statement of “you ain’t getting any more dosh from us if you move away from current assumptions about future fare rises”.

    If I am reading the numbers properly then the capital account surpluses have to fund the general loss on operations. Clearly the DfT grant has to be spent on capital items hence the investment numbers exceeding the grant but not by very much. It is also telling that DfT have granted some more “flexibility” to TfL and are prepared to consider more including short term use of some Crossrail funding held on account. That suggests to me the funding situation is tight and somewhat unpredictable even if we were not facing a Mayoral election. That must present some issues for NTfL and future upgrades. Any delays or cost escalation on the SSR resignalling works run a real risk of blowing holes in whatever LU wants to do. There must come a point in the near future, if we’re not already at it, where replacing the Picc Line stock becomes business critical. The prospect of the Picc Line becoming the next “Misery Line” candidate and it dragging on for years is surely intolerable for LU / TfL, the line’s users and the Mayor? Can you imagine what Heathrow Airport will have to say about that (regardless of Crossrail reaching there in 2018)? I recognise you’ve made a similar observation but I think it’s worth re-emphasising.

  77. timbeau says:

    @Graham H
    “c1991 an intermediate station at BFRS (at the time …………. certainly feasible ”

    maybe it was feasible than, but even with an extra train I doubt it would be now as it is so grossly overloaded that no-one would ever be able to board at Blackfriars in the peaks.

  78. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – hence my comment about having doubts as to whether theline could now cope with the extra traffic…

  79. Greg Tingey says:

    Agree completely.
    But, it is finally beginning to percolate through the “general consciousness” so to speak, that TfL & the “private” TOC’s & … everyone are largely puppets, dancing to guvmint/ministerial control. And that this realisation will, indeed already is beginning, to put “the ministry” & more pertinently, the Minister on the spot, in public.
    Which IMHO can only be a good thing.

  80. Graham H says:

    @Greg Tingey -the astonishing thing is that it has taken so long for this to happen. As I may have remarked before, old DfT hands were looking forward as early as 1994 to Ministers explaining why the 07.36 was only 8 cars long. It says much for the inadequacy of MPs of all parties and their serious failure to engage with the franchising process that ministers have been allowed to dodge the bullet in this way.

  81. MikeP says:

    @GH – for an impressive bit of bullet-dodging and, of course, utter failure to answer the questions posed, see Claire Perry’s performance in the (most recent) debate over Southeastern’s performance.
    Multiple FoI’s are now in hand (here and here) attempting to determine whether her assertion in that debate that they are not in breach of the franchise agreement is veracious.
    Unsurprisingly, the transparency (let alone the improved performance) promised at the time of the franchise extension has been unforthcoming. Absent, it seems, a tooth-extraction procedure.

  82. Graham H says:

    MikeP – The astonishing thing is that no one, no one, in politics ever presses home the responsibility despite the length of the toast market… For two pins, I’d happily draft a suitable PQ and watch the target squirm. (Something we used to do in Whitehall to discomfort other departments – dangerous sport for insiders if the Perm Sec ever discovered).

  83. Malcolm says:

    Graham: I’m somewhat lost in the intrigue here. Do you mean that civil servants in one department would draft a Parliamentary Question for a chosen MP to put to the minister of another department, aiming to make the said minister squirm? Or were the civil servants aiming to provoke squirms from their own minister? (In which case they would also be involved in assisting the minister’s response to the said question). And what about supplementary questions?

  84. Anonymous of Croydon says:

    I read Graham H’s comment as that his dept drafted PQs for MPs to ask to other depts. This does feel like a very dangerous game indeed.

  85. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – the former case. [The particular incident I had mostly in mind, and you will forgive me for straying off topic, concerned an SSSI at Seal Sands in the Tees estuary c1976. At the time I had the DOE nature conservation desk (I’ve travelled around) and we were faced with an implacable DTI who wanted to back a major port development there. DTI refused to negotiate. I had good links with the RSPB, who had a number of tame peers in tow, so we sat down and drafted a PQ which couldn’t be answered except by DTI coming to the negotiating table. To plan is to act and I quickly had a puzzled and contrite DTI oppo ringing up and offering a deal. Cynical,moi?]

    @anonymous of Croydon – yes, very dangerous. In retrospect,it has similarities with the behaviour of certain security agencies.

  86. Anonymous says:

    Some PMQs are planted, presumably with the collusion of the relevant Department. “can the Minister report on the financial situation at the Meteorological Office” “I am delighted to report a technical breakthrough, and from now on: every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven”

  87. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous – probably more than 50% – ah, the terrible hunt the day before the Order Paper is ready, with the Whips’ Office for a suitable nark. Or even more, the panic search for a suitable question, preferably one that’s not just good news but also blocks some boring/inconvenient/stupid question from a backbencher on one’s own side…

  88. Taz says:

    @Ian J 23 March 2016 at 07:35 “the Piccadilly, for example, has a 4:1 BCR” Well the 17 train NLU2 has a BCR of 4.8:1 and is in doubt under the Comprehensive Spending Review. (see Rail and Underground Panel 24 Feb 2016).

  89. Mr Beckton says:

    “Does this mean that the rules have changed since the Jubilee Line extension ran with fully manually driven stock and platform edge doors? If so, why?

    “Yes, it was. Because manually driven the trains could not stop as accurately as they can under ATO and HMRI (as I think it then was) were unhappy that the doors did not always line up. I think there was a remark from the head of HMRI that he would never again sanction platform edge doors with manually driven trains.”

    This sounds like a “Not Invented Here” attitude. The platform doors worked perfectly well, in my experience, for years with manual driving, and it was interlocked so it was not possible to open them if not properly aligned. In fact, only when auto driving came along were my first experiences (multiple) of not pulling up right, and having to go on to the next station.

    Meanwhile, we have the usual nonsense for the opposite combination, that driverless trains are not possible WITHOUT platform edge doors. Has nobody ever ridden on the DLR in the last quarter-century?

    I also fear that there will be some attitude cooked up against mixed operation on a line, which will cause it to be closed for months if not years for conversion. Again, nobody likely visited Paris Line 1 where they installed edge doors one platform per week over a period, on a line otherwise running normally.

  90. Anonymous says:

    When they say driverless trains are not possible without platform edge doors they mean fully automated trains without ANY member of staff on board are not possible without PEDs… The DLR is not a fully automated system – the train will only get to the first stop on its own- it then needs a human to “despatch” the train before it can leave. Automated systems find it very difficult to do the “final check” before it’s safe to depart a station – Only if both the train doors and the PEDs get “interlock” can you be sure that there is no-one caught between the platform and the train without a “human” checking it… The DLR does have the human final check, therefore does not need PEDs, but is not fully automated.

  91. Anonymous says:

    Then there is Mr Beckton’s other not-thought-through comment about mixed operation. This is actually a bit Of a chicken-and-egg problem. You can’t put the PEDs in before you change over to the new stock, as the door positions for the new stock won’t be the same as the door positions for the old. But you can’t introduce the new stock running (in fully automated mode) first either because it can’t run like that without the PEDs. Therefore you have to introduce the new stock first, but not in automated mode, so it has to be built with positions for a train captain (or Train operator, or “driver”) to be able to despatch the train (as explained in the last comment) to use in the interim period. Also, if u don’t introduce the new stock all at once then it won’t play nicely with the old stock in any transition period, so the new stock will have to be able to be driven manually until all the old stock
    Is replaced, so you’ll also need a drivers cab, but only for the changeover period too… And we’re not going to have any drivers cabs so that won’t work either. You end up with this “close it down while we change over everything” situation, which will have to take a period of time, as all the old stock needs to be got rid of and the new stock moved in (unless you’ve got a few double size depots where all the old and new fleet can be stored simultaneously..? I thought not), the PEDs fitted and the new automated signal system tested and commissioned, and it’s unlikely you could do all that over a weekend is it!!

  92. Taz says:

    The Piccadilly line will have been awaiting an upgrade some thirty years! The current 1973 stock trains were ordered to match foreseen need at a time of falling demand. The line has since extended to T4, with trains being turned in service, & to T5 with no extra trains. The 1983 stock was retained with the aim of boosting the Piccadilly when replaced on the Jubilee by the current 1996 stock, but the case was never made. The PPP then promised a line upgrade with new train fleet by 2014. With the departure of Tube Lines and no progress on the upgrade, Government grant was received for prototype train for the Piccadilly/Bakerloo to be delivered by 2015. This was later modified to only require the tender to be called by the end of 2015, which may have been just met. An order is promised for late 2017, with test train by 2022 and full upgrade only by 2026.

  93. Pedantic of Purley says:


    My understanding (which may be wrong) is that the Piccadilly has sufficient trains but the combination of the old signalling and the considerable dwell times prevent more trains being usefully run. Didn’t they attempt to run more trains some years ago but found it just unworkable?

  94. timbeau says:

    “unless you’ve got a few double size depots where all the old and new fleet can be stored simultaneously..? I thought not”
    In extremis, you could close part of the line – maybe the South Harrow branch or the T4 loop, and keep the new trains there until the changeover day. This has been done before – back in the early 1960s the Ardingley branch was singled so that the new Kent Coast electric stock could be stored on it.

    The Heathrow extensions have certainly required more utilisation of the stock, although the closure of the Aldwych branch contributed half a train to the main line fleet!

  95. Kate says:

    How many trains could be stabled down the Aldwych branch?

  96. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – yes the fleet size is reasonable given the level of service. You are quite correct that more ambitious tph levels have been attempted on the Picc. The problem was that the slightest issue at Acton Town or Arnos Grove resulting in ridiculous queues of trains backing into Central London. While the assets at both locations are rather more reliable these days there are no guarantees that they will always remain so. We also have the not inconsiderable issue of the SSR resignalling affecting Acton Town at some point.

    As someone who used the Picc Line on a daily basis it certainly got better once the tph was reduced a little to give more even spacing of trains and reduce the risk of blocking back. There were the usual “oh how stupid how is running fewer trains better? LU are idiots” headlines in the Standard but I guess they were subsequently disappointed when the numbers of “Picc Line in chaos again” headlines reduced hugely after the timetable change. Clearly, though, when you put the Picc Line’s service levels against the Victoria Line then you can see the difference very sharply. I see regular tweets about longer than expected intervals between Picc trains – especially on the western branches – which suggests things are not as good as they could be (I can’t confirm as I barely use the tube these days). Overall, though, I agree with Taz’s remark that a full upgrade is long, long overdue on such an important line. I’m also a tad nervous about what running the Night Tube service on the Picc will do for its robustness. I understand why LU want to run a night service on the line (look where it serves!) but even so the assets are old and possibly not as robust as they should be.

  97. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I won’t answer your question but let me answer a somewhat more useful question.

    Q. How many trains will be able to be stabled down the Aldwych branch after Holborn station is upgraded (due for completion around 2023/4 if I recall correctly) ?

    A. None, because the branch will be severed.

  98. Melvyn says:

    The extension of District Line to Rayners Lane / Uxbridge may have begun as ” Crayonista territory” but the continued delay in ordering new trains for Piccadilly Line and time it will take to supply new SSR trains for increasingly unreliable 1973 trains may make ordering some S Stock trains to cover conversion of Ealing Broadway and Uxbridge service the quick ” get out of jail ” card for incoming Mayor .

    This could be presented as providing this line with modern air-conditioned trains with better accessibility and of course remove problem of different height trains on Uxbridge branch making level access to all trains at all stations possible .

    This would then reduce the total number of trains needed to operate Piccadilly Line allowing those in worst condition to be scrapped with cannibalised parts for remaining trains.

    While new fleet could be designed with Heathrow in mind re carriage of luggage . Although opening of Crossrail may lead to a transfer of many of these passengers from Piccadilly Line given better accessibility of Crossrail stations.

    One question extension of Dustrict Line to Uxbridge would bring is whether Uxbridge to Upminster (2U line) would be to long a distance ?

  99. Malcolm says:

    Melvyn: The District line through South Kensington is full. So which of the other western branches of the District line do you propose for a decrease in frequency to allow some of the trains to go to Uxbridge?

  100. timbeau says:

    Ealing – replace with a shuttle to Acton Town.

  101. Malcolm says:

    Anonymous says “And we’re not going to have any drivers cabs so that won’t work either”

    I thought it was widely accepted that “we will never order any more trains with driver’s cabs” has already been weakened to “we will never order any more trains with unconvertible (to extra passenger space) driver’s cabs”

  102. Ig says:

    1. Do we know how the 60% Picadilly capacity increase is calculated exactly? I’m guess 24tph->36tph=50%, then add another 10% for slightly roomier trains??
    2. Also, which of the Western branches will see the biggest uplift in tph? It seems the biggest winner is likely to be the District line Richmond branch with and extra 8tph (see Picadilly line upgrade article link above) if and when the Ealing Broadway branch is taken over by the Picadilly line. Then a couple of extra tph each only for the Heathrow and EB branches.
    PS Slight typo: “driverless stock driverless”.

  103. Pedantic of Purley says:


    A big problem with that idea, apart from dilution of other branches, is that once you cede your grandfather rights, you are unlikely to get them back again. So you would lose the right to run mixed height stock from Rayners Lane to Uxbridge which would potentially create a lot of problems in the future.


    1. That is my understanding, Well roomier and longer (slightly).
    2. As I hoped the article made clear, the uplift will be shared with the Richmond and Wimbledon branches in equal measure. Of these, the improvement to the Wimbledon branch is of the greater benefit.

  104. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Malcolm – Boris succeeded in not ordering a single tube train in 8 years so his “pronouncements” about the configuration of tube rolling stock are utterly worthless and in about 5 weeks he’ll be gone. He did seem perfectly happy to order over 100 main line trains without uttering stupid words about train cabs, the value of drivers or anything else equally daft.

  105. Ian J says:

    @anonymous 01:49:

    fully automated trains without ANY member of staff on board are not possible without PEDs

    Copenhagen, Vancouver and Nuremburg beg to differ. PEDs are desirable, but not essential, for automated running.

    @anonymous at 02:21:

    if u don’t introduce the new stock all at once then it won’t play nicely with the old stock in any transition period, so the new stock will have to be able to be driven manually until all the old stock
    Is replaced

    Paris Metro Line 1 had a period of mixed operation, with the signalling coping fine with trains with drivers and automatic trains.

    The most feasible sequence of events would be:

    1) New trains are introduced, with drivers cabs and tripcocks to operate on the existing signalling. As each individual train arrives, an old train is removed from service, so little additional depot capacity is needed, except the permanent extra capacity you will need for the larger fleet anyway.
    2) The line is resignalled a section of a time. As each resignalled section comes into use, ATO is introduced on that section, under the supervision of drivers.
    3) Once the line is fully resignalled, a new timetable is introduced which increases the number of trains per hour thanks to the capacity advantages of the new signalling system.
    4) Platform edge doors are added to stations, one station at a time.
    5) Drivers are replaced with fully automatic operation, one train at a time.
    6) Drivers cabs are removed to increase interior space.

    Note that 1-3 is exactly what has happened on the Northern Line already, and that you can have as long a gap as you like (currently anticipated to be anything up to 15 years) between 3 and 4.

    @WW: Boris succeeded in not ordering a single tube train in 8 years so his “pronouncements” about the configuration of tube rolling stock are utterly worthless

    This is true (actually I would be tempted to remove seven words from your sentence…), but it is worth noting that the statement that “we will never order any more trains with driver’s cabs” was made by Mike Brown and Peter Hendy, who should have known better. Not that it did either of their careers any harm.

  106. Taz says:

    Re temp stabling of new trains. The slow lines Acton to Northfields have been used from time to time when access to eastern depots has been lost (Upminster/Cockfosters). They could hold over 40 trains nose to tail!

  107. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Ian J,

    But, crucially, Paris took the decision to have the doors in the new stock in exactly the same position as in the old stock to make this transistion possible. This meant PEDs could be installed in advance of the first new train going into service. To me it seems that they will forever be stuck with a sub-optimal door spacing.

    To be fair to Walthamstow Writer, I am fairly sure Boris uttered this statement as well. I wasn’t too concerned with ‘crediting’ him with this comment at the time simply because I couldn’t find a reference to him saying it and in any case, as pointed out, the fact that a Mayor states something doesn’t really have much weight if it is going to apply to something happening long after their term of office has ended.


    On the subject of the DLR running in automatic mode without human intervention until departure from the station, there is a strong belief amongst transport professionals that if the DLR were to be built tomorrow it would not be allowed to run without a person in a front cab unless it had platform edge doors.

    It seems past extensions and train lengthenings have been allowed without more onerous conditions than the original setup. If any further extension were to be built it would be interesting to see what would be allowed. You could get the perverse situation of quiet new stations having platform edge doors and busy old ones not requiring them.

  108. Mr Beckton says:

    “On the subject of the DLR running in automatic mode without human intervention until departure from the station, there is a strong belief amongst transport professionals that if the DLR were to be built tomorrow it would not be allowed to run without a person in a front cab unless it had platform edge doors.”

    I don’t know where this one has come from either, apart maybe from those who can’t resist fiddling with what works. The DLR does seem to have been remarkably free from the passenger incidents that regularly disrupt the tube system.

  109. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Mr Beckton,

    I think there have been three deaths in total on the DLR because of passengers falling on – or in one case deliberately pushed on – the tracks so far. The system is only going to get busier. What works now may well not be what works in ten years time.

    I think this issue is down to two things. One is what we know now compared to what we knew then (when the system was opened). The other is the Health & Safety principle of “as low as reasonably practical”. Again what was as low as reasonably practical then compared to now are different.

    Given the lack of need for ventilation control, if platform edge were installed in future on existing platforms, any future passenger edge doors would probably only have to be half height.

  110. 100andthirty says:

    PoP and Mr Beckton. There are a variety of things that can go wrong at an unprotected platform edge. They can happen in four “states” (for want of a better word):

    1) when no train is present,
    2) when a train is approaching,
    3) when the train is at the platform and
    4) when its departing.

    Clearly a driver at the front of the train cannot influence the possible outcome of 1) – injury due to fall or electrocution, only “might” be able to influence 2) if the driver sees the person on the track or fall in time to apply the emergency brakes to stop short (and, especially in tunnel, the service brake rate isn’t much lower than the emergency brake rate). In the station (3) the person observing the PTI can intervene if something happens and can ensure that people aren’t trapped, and on departure there is little the driver can do unless they have an image of the platform in the cab for a reasonable distance after departure.

    On DLR , on the run in to critical stations and at busy times, the train attendant is often to be found at the front with the emergency driving panel open so that the emergency brake can be operated in an emergency.

    Platform Edge Doors effectively remove risk from all bar the boarding and alighting phase (slips, trips, falls, getting hit by/caught in the doors and putting a foot in the gap – but for all these the consequences – ie injuries – tend to be less severe). It is critical to ensure that the gap between the train and the PEDs is small enough that there is no credible risk of getting trapped between the train and the PED with both doors closed (or some fool-proof detection). The latter is a big issue at curved platforms and exercises the ingenuity of designers on all PED railways, but the tube will be a big challenge!

    I am informed that if Paris could have its time again, it would probably have installed conventional PEDs on Line 1 as the gates they used are rather bulky. They require a motor per gate (rather than one per pair for conventional PEDs) and as this motor has to positioned at the bottom of the gates, they take up quite a lot of space on the platforms (The same space is required for conventional PEDs but it’s above head height so doesn’t reduce available platform space by as much.. They are also not as effective at preventing suicide attempts as PEDs

  111. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Incredibly, at a talk at the iMechE a while back, they said that PED doors on ligne 1 in Paris have reduced the number of incidents on the line of people just crossing the tracks to get to the other platform from one a day to one a month. Clearly even half-height (in practice much more than that) barriers are not totally foolproof.

    I had heard similar previously.

    At least the DLR starts off with the advantage of straight platforms, level boarding, very little gap between platform and train an relatively new platforms (meaning they can take the weight of Platform Edge Doors).

    I can quite understand that the issue would not even be seriously considered until the current stock is fully replaced with replacement stock that will consist of a single long unit with considerably more door space than currently available.

  112. timbeau says:

    “relatively new platforms (meaning they can take the weight of Platform Edge Doors).”

    Were they designed that way? Given the pared-to-the bone budget of the original scheme I’d be surprised if they were over-engineered to that extent.

  113. Mr Beckton says:

    PofP :

    “I think there have been three deaths in total on the DLR because of passengers falling on – or in one case deliberately pushed on – the tracks so far. The system is only going to get busier. What works now may well not be what works in ten years time.”

    LU are rightly reluctant to release figures, but given that the fatality rates are known to hover around 100 per year for them, there will be WEEKS on LU where this figure has been reached.

    The automated DLR opened in 1987. Let us not be advocating solutions in search of a problem.

  114. Malcolm says:

    The extreme reluctance to consider further “driverless” trains (in whichever of the meanings of that phrase) without Platform Edge Doors is most definitely not a “solution in search of a problem”.

    Of course we cannot know exactly when, or indeed whether, PEDs will be added to the DLR, as there may be better ways of spending the money at particular moments. But adding them eventually should not be ruled out.

  115. 100andthirty says:

    I had the pleasure of travelling briefly on a fully automated line in Lyon last summer. It was a very quiet line. …makes the Beckton line seem busy. However, I would not countenance driverless operation on the tube without PEDs although it is no longer anything to do with me!

  116. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – so much for the “Light” in DLR… The contrast with what will presumably eventually be Google-driven NOMO ordinary trams couldn’t be plainer

  117. Taz says:

    Plans for new DLR trains only replace the older units, so with current branch inter-working services there will be a mix of door patterns for years to come.

  118. 100andthirty says:

    Graham H……..There is no real definition of “Light Rail”. I know that in times past there were Light Railway Orders” which amongst other things required a 25mph speed limit. For DLR, the only thing that really marks it out as different from the tube is the sharpness of some of the curves.

    The current interoperability regulations allow exemptions and these include “light rail” – although still not defined except that it implies that trams and metros are “light rail” systems – not very helpful:

    “The Interoperability Directive (2008/57/EC) allows the following rail systems for exclusion from the scope (Article 1, Paragraph 3.)2
    a) metros, trams and other light rail systems; :
    b) networks that are functionally separate from the rest of the railway system and intended only for the operation of local, urban or suburban passenger services, as well as railway undertakings operating solely on these networks;
    c) privately owned railway infrastructure and vehicles exclusively used on such infrastructure that exist solely for use by the owner for its own freight operations;
    d) infrastructure and vehicles reserved for a strictly local, historical or touristic use.”

    back to DLR, A 3-car DLR train is only about 10m shorter than a C stock train was. DLR will do well NOT to emphasise the “light” when it invites bids for its new trains – ie not suggest some sort of lower duty than metro. Personally, I think the overall configuration for what DLR want and what the tube want, in the form of NTfL, are remarkably similar, apart from train length, body shape and floor height all of which train suppliers are well used to varying whilst retaining the same basic architecture. (think Seat Leon, Skoda Octavia and VW Golf all based around the same engines, running gear and electrical systems dressed in different (and different sized) “suits of clothes”)

  119. @Graham H

    What are “NOMO” trams? No driver? What does this stand for?

    [I presume Graham’s acronym generator is somewhat behind the gender-free times, and it is trying to denote “No Man Operated”. Mine calls it NOPO, though whether it is necessary to presume a gender for a person who does not exist is one for the philosophers. Malcolm]

  120. Graham H says:

    @LBM /Malcolm – Yes, I did mean driverless trams, and like you I can’t see you can attribute gender to a computer. (no doubt the time will come). Perhaps NoD would be the term?

    @100andthirty – indeed there is nothing other than a marketing thing about the lightness of the DLR (I used to approve LROs in the Department). I suspect that it was called that to sell the idea to Nick Ridley who shared his Mistress’ dislike of all things heavy rail and all things Underground.

  121. Malcolm says:

    At risk of having to give myself a brisk reprimand for off-topicality, the nearest computers come to gender is the wise observation that PCs come from Mars and Macs from Venus…

  122. NickBXN says:

    re. 100and thirty 12:14 – I have observed DLR captains at the front console with their hand hovering directly over the emergency stop button coming into some stations at busy times. I would be interested to know whether it is general policy or by preference of individual staff. Either way, it rather suggests that NTfL cabs would only disappear once PEDs are in place, complete with the magic formula for curves sorted out. It’s interesting that the recent visuals for the proposed Glasgow Subway stock, although being promoted as driverless, appear to show a demobbed cab, judging by the little vestigial-looking side windows at the front. Presumably for a programmed transition period.

    Looking at scenes like this, https:[email protected]/4316908520/in/album-72157623148352281/
    is a reminder of how ‘light’ the DLR was to begin with (remember the ‘toytown’ jibes…) The intensity and scale of the upgrading over such a short time after initial construction must be quite exceptional among railways. (The much older example of the London-Greenwich, when heavy rail was finding its feet, comes to mind). Perhaps one still wouldn’t necessarily consider PEDs if building something of a similarly modest scale to the early DLR now, but would do so if starting on something already akin to the more intensively used up-scaled version.

  123. Ian J says:

    @PoP: Ian J, But, crucially, Paris took the decision to have the doors in the new stock in exactly the same position as in the old stock to make this transistion possible. This meant PEDs could be installed in advance of the first new train going into service.

    But why not introduce the new trains first, ATO-driven without PEDs, and then install the PEDs? Then you fully automate once the PEDs are in place. That means you can have the doors wherever you like, at the cost of having to fit the trains with (temporary) cabs (which is presumably the reason Paris didn’t do it that way). But that does not mean that Paris-style mixed ATO/fully automated operation couldn’t be used for a transition period, whichever way round it was done.

    You could get the perverse situation of quiet new stations having platform edge doors and busy old ones not requiring them.

    That’s not so different to quiet new stations that are fitted with lifts, ramps etc, while busy old ones don’t have them.

    the number of incidents on the line of people just crossing the tracks to get to the other platform from one a day to one a month

    To be fair to the French, that is the standard way of getting to the other platform at many quieter rural stations. Maybe visiting paysans don’t realise the same doesn’t work in Paris?

    @NickBXN:how ‘light’ the DLR was to begin with

    The original trains were basically trams and now run as such in Essen, the DLR having outgrown them.

    Perhaps one still wouldn’t necessarily consider PEDs if building something of a similarly modest scale to the early DLR now

    Singapore’s rather cutesy single-car LRT is apparently going to install platform edge doors at every station, and the Dubai Tram already has them, although I assume in Dubai’s case this is mainly to allow the stops to be airconditioned.

  124. Greg Tingey says:

    For DLR, the only thing that really marks it out as different from the tube is the sharpness of some of the curves.The internal Loading Gauge is not too different from surface stock / Paris metro, but profoundly different from the deep-level small-gauge tubes, though?

  125. Greg,

    Well, strictly speaking, the fundamental difference between sub-surface and deep-level is profound.

  126. Ian J,

    Re: Platform Edge Doors

    I think somewhere the plot has been lost. This all started off when Mr Beckton was discussing the Jubilee line.

    Your solution would work for the DLR but not for the Jubilee line.

  127. Mr Beckton says:

    “This all started off because when Mr Beckton was discussing the Jubilee line.”

    Actually it started off, right on the SSR resignalling topic, when it was stated that PEDs were compulsory for automatic driving and would not be allowed for manual driving. Which was then pointed out had no background to it.

    Bear in mind the original purpose of the PEDs on the JLE was for draught alleviation, nothing to do with passenger management.

  128. 100andthirty says:

    Mr Beckton “Bear in mind the original purpose of the PEDs on the JLE was for draught alleviation, nothing to do with passenger management.”

    This is incorrect. They were seen as a “good thing” for safety and pasenger management. They were “justified” (business case) on savings accruing from simpler draught relief arrangments.

    PoP, Greg Tingey….Profound differences between tube and surface and DLR? Yes, in look and feel, perhaps, but in terms of engineering, it all depends. Take the Electrostar and Desiro trains. In terms of size, function and performance they are virtually identical. Yet they probably share few, if any, components apart from, things like nuts, bolts cables. GEC and BREL Networkers which even look similar are also quite different “under the skin”. By comparison, 1973 tube stock (Piccadilly line) and D stock (District Line) shared numerous components, wheels, axles, gearboxes, motors, traction equipment, compressors, motor alternator, brake equipment etc.

    If, say, the new Docklands train and the NTfL contracts go to the same supplier I would be very surprised if they weren’t virtually identical under the skin. If the contracts go to different suppliers, then I would be surprised if there were anything other than superficial similarities.

  129. AlisonW says:

    Instead of storage on the soon-to-be-snipped Aldwych line, there is still the (connected, sfaiaa) stretch to Charing X Fleet line (and overruns) which should be able to hold quite a few cars.

  130. Taz says:

    @ AlisonW 4 April 2016 at 00:53 Sorry, but the branch remains an emergency reversing point for the northern end of the Jubilee Line, so only the two stub end tunnels could be used for a couple of trains if required. The slow lines Acton to Northfields would hold over 40 trains, but graffiti protection would be essential!

  131. Ian J says:

    @PoP: Your solution would work for the DLR but not for the Jubilee line

    Relevantly to the article, it would also work for the New Tube for London. In fact it would work for every line except the Jubilee Line, which is stuck with suboptimal door spacing forever, unless you are prepared to take the underground stations on the extension out of service for a few months while introducing the next generation of trains.

    This also means that the Jubilee will need its own specific stock forever, hence no suggestion of the Jubilee Line being included in the NTfL programme. But that is a problem that won’t arise until some time in the 2040s.

    On the Jubilee Line, wasn’t the original intention that the 1983 stock would run in mixed operation with the 1996 stock? Hence there was no alternative to sticking with the original door layout for the platform edge doors (as well as the shallow windows on the 1996 stock to match the 1983 stock, which were then also adopted on the 1997 stock). So decisions taken in the early 1980s are still constraining the design of trains which are being ordered in the 2010s.

  132. 100andthirty says:

    IanJ…..The 1983 tube stock was originally intended to be re-engineered to form 63 new trains from the original 31.5 trains. The idea was that:
    – The bogies would be replaced,
    – The traction motors and control equipment would be replaced
    – The doorways would be widened to accommodate double doors
    – Three new cars (two motor and one trailer) would be inserted.
    Thus all the trains would have been the same, half of the cars new and half extensively re-engineered.

    The bidders declared all this to be feasible, but added words to the effect that they thought the idea to be bonkers and said that for a very small number of £m, they could provide all new trains.

  133. Ian J says:

    @130: Thanks, that sounds like a huge amount of work just for the sake of avoiding scrapping the 1983 stock – and would have stored up trouble for the future as the bodyshells on the older cars wouldn’t last as long as the new ones (especially through having had the structure hacked into to make wider doorways).

    The LURS story linked on the other thread mentions that TfL might life-extend the Jubilee trains into the mid 2050s – if the 1983 stock had been kept the bodyshells would have been pushing 70 years by that point.

  134. timbeau says:

    To see how easy “just” converting the 1983 stock would have been, consider the problems encountered in the relatively simple job of re-purposing the Class 460s as extra vehicles for 458s. There have been internal changes to the seating arrangements, and the cabs have been modified with gangway connections (to a design different from that fitted to the original 458s, and now retrofitted to them too)

    But there have been no major changes to the bodyshells, as can be observed. The ex-460 cars retain their original ribbon-glazing (as opposed to gasket-fixed) windows

  135. 100andthirty says:


    The thing about the 1983 tube stock was that there was no real structure in the body, it was all in the underframe. Having watched the vehicles being built, I can say that it would have been comparatively easy to remove the centre windowed section and reinstate it with a new section with pockets for the doors. However, with the benefit of hindsight, I am mighty glad it didn’t go ahead for all the reasons you say!

    As for extending the life of 1996TS, I think it will be time to take stock of that in about 10 years time, but don’t underestimate thecimpact of the much higher duty of this fleet compared with those that went before – higher mileages and loads.

  136. Paul says:

    timbeau 13:21

    …and look at the unpredictable risks of the 458/5 remodelling. Just leave a few nuts loose on the shoegear cable junction boxes and that writes off a train for a couple of years due to a damaged underbody…

  137. timbeau says:


    Although, to be fair, that was the result of the bogie overhaul rather than a situation specific to the rebuilding project.

  138. 100andthirty says:

    Timbeau…… whether bogie overhaul or the reconfiguration, it was poor workmanship, but also poor design to have such a safety critical item relying on a single bolt.

  139. 21st Century Railway says:

    With reference to the comments abou the Glasgow GoA4 trains above the designs on the website at show a front end with large windscreens. I have also read this is being promoted as a ‘viewing deck’ though quite what one will see in a tunnel railway I am not sure. Perhaps this is a way fro Glasgow to compensate for their falling passenger numbers.

  140. Notts Railman says:

    I am also puzzled by
    “TfL estimates that there will be 11 million fewer journeys a year and that this will cost it £271m in lost fares income.”

    Over what period is that fares income lost? If it means annually, then that is almost £25 per journey. If it means Over a 5-year financial projection / planning period, then it’s just under a fiver per journey. That is still too high, because many journeys bring in no fare revenue (because the passenger has a Travelcard / Season Ticket / has already reached the cap).

  141. timbeau says:

    @Notts Railman
    “just under a fiver per journey. That is still too high, because many journeys bring in no fare revenue (because the passenger has a Travelcard / Season Ticket )

    Some of that lost revenue will be season ticket revenue. One Travelcard holder making one journey less may not mean any lost revenue, but if that (former-)Travelcard holder makes 450 fewer journeys, that is £2,364 lost revenue.

  142. TranzitJim says:

    Why can’t we get a rail connection for the Waterloo and City line? [SNIP]

    [It would cost too much for little or no passenger benefit. In accordance with a long-standing policy on this website, we do not allow any discussion of extension plans for the Waterloo and City line. Any further comments attempting to do so will be removed without warning. Malcolm]

  143. timbeau says:

    “we do not allow any discussion of extension plans for the Waterloo and City line. ”

    To avoid being too curt with new arrivals to the website, would it be possible when snipping to provide a link to an exposition of why this subject is considered to have been done to death? This for example:

  144. Edmonton 'Eadcase says:

    I’ve thought for a while that the web should contain a resource called “Why railways can’t be extended” or something similar which listed all the common ideas for extending railways and briefly gave the reasons why they won’t happen. For instance I mentioned at the meeting last night that a recent article in, I think, RAIL suggested that the Northern City line could be extended to Cannon Street and Waterloo, at which point several people pointed out that the Crossrail tunnels are in the way. Another favourite suggestion is that the Aldwych Shuttle could be extended to Waterloo, but it turns out that it’s too shallow to get under the river. Lots of people have info like this for various schemes but there is no resource where it’s all collated.

  145. Malcolm says:

    Ed Ed: Who would curate such a resource? And quite often, favourite schemes are not actually impossible (you could put a tube line almost anywhere you wanted if both the line, and your pockets, were deep enough), but just widely believed (sometimes very widely) to be uneconomic.

    There was a website, set up by a contributor to London Reconnections, intended for discussion of ideas about tube lines which were (if I understood it correctly) rather away from mainstream thinking. That might have included discussion of the ones you mention. But sadly, the person who was running the site has recently said that it did not seem to be working out (which is why I am not providing more details).

  146. Graham H says:

    @Edmonton ‘eadcase – actually, LPTB prepared serious plans for the Aldwych- Waterloo extension and kept the powers alive into the ’60s. Two things militated against it: avery poor financial and economic performance, and the difficulty – a generic one – of either splitting a busy route mid-town or running just a shuttle. Subsidiary issues included whether or not to move the entrance to the intermediate station from Aldwych to the Embankment. (You’re right about the GNC, tho’ – even the 1913 Met scheme to link it to the Unmentionable required a fiendish 1:20 3D double reverse curve to get under the Central; as you say, no amount of money would solve the problem of CR1 now being in the way…)

  147. Old Buccaneer says:

    Ed ‘Ead: the platforms at Aldwych are 92ft below street level which ought to put the under the bed of the Thames. Though perhaps not by much; and I know there were issues with the turnback loop at Embankment. So I imagine you’d need anti-flooding protection which wouldn’t be cheap.

  148. Old Buccaneer says:

    Sorry, source: Connor, J.E. (2001) [1999]. London’s Disused Underground Stations. Capital Transport, via Wikipedia

  149. Old Buccaneer says:

    Graham H: I’ve read somewhere that the magisterial sweep of the Prime Minister’s crayon taking the Jubilee Line Extension south of the river put the final ki-bosh on the Waterloo & Holborn line via Aldwych. Is that right?

    I’ve also read that the ‘serious plans’ you refer to had made it into early versions of the 1940- New Works Programme.

  150. @Old Buccaneer, Graham H et al

    I recently read The Aldwych Branch book by Antony Badsey-Ellis and Mike Horne, and from what I recall it wasn’t so much the Jubilee Line Extension that kiboshed the Aldwych Branch extension, but the poor economic performance of the Aldwych branch to Waterloo relative to other much more beneficial lines such as the Jub and, eventually, Crossrail (1). All of these options were evaluated in the 1989 Central London Rail Studies (there were two versions), in which the Aldwych Branch options barely featured. We shall be investigating this study and the JLE’s origins in more detail in Part 3 of the long-promised Fleet/Jubilee Line series.

  151. @Malcolm, Edmonton Eadcase

    The open discussion website is, which has short articles on various proposals and suggested schemes. It is still live so feel free to comment there on topics frowned upon here on LR.

  152. timbeau says:

    TJ’s proposal was not for an extension but a rail connection, presumably for empty stock working [SNIP. An extension is still an extension, regardless of whether trains on it would have passengers in. Malcolm]

  153. 100andthirty says:

    Now, where were we? .ah……., SSR signalling.

    I went with a group to the RIDC Melton Mowbray this week to experience the test train operating under ATC. Good progress being made by a very enthusiastic team.

  154. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    I was on a (nice and cool) new Circle line train earlier this week and it crawled through the old Mark Lane station, the lights were on and there was a lot of shiny new cable ducting to be seen….

    Is this for the new signalling?

  155. Taz says:

    Plans for these new trains are now considering even shorter cars with more to make up a train. An IRJ online report dated 28 September 2016 estimates a fleet of up to 3,300 cars. With the previous total of 250 trains, that would be 140 trains of 13 cars for the Piccadilly & Bakerloo, 100 trains of 14 cars for the Central line and 10 trains of 8 cars for the Waterloo & City line. The NTfL feasibility study compared a proposed 10 car train for the Piccadilly line with a conventional 7 car train. One of the benefits of the proposed train was less bogies, saving weight and therefore energy. 10 cars would need 11 bogies rather than 14 for a conventional 7 car train. A 13 car train will require 14 bogies, providing no saving. The extra cost of additional cars in a train would be offset by smaller gaps at curved platforms, requiring fewer planned gap-filler machines. An announced order of “up to” 3,300 cars probably indicates that a decision has yet to be taken.

  156. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Taz – with so many cars to make a “train” they’ll end up looking like Slinkies on rails.

  157. Greg Tingey says:

    Can we call them “Kinky-Slinkies”?

  158. Anonymously says:

    In that case, will there be sufficient space on the carriage frame to put in enough doors and windows?

  159. Taz says:

    The Victoria Line Space Train concept of 1995 proposed 12 car trains, or possibly 10 to 13 cars, and a single pair of doors in each car. The latest proposal looks to have even shorter cars, although the feasibility study showed two pairs of doors per car, probably for a 12 car train for the Central line, 10 car for the Piccadilly.

  160. Taz says:

    The full NTfL project includes platform screen doors to avoid the need for a staff member to remain at the front of each train. The feasibility study revealed plans for a train to deliver these screens through tube tunnels, to be assembled on each platform. How long would this take? Crossrail’s new video shows a similar method for fitting their platforms, which are around twice as long. They reckon four weeks per platform!

  161. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Taz – Even relatively modern systems with platforms build to high standards (e.g. Hong Kong, Singapore) have not achieved overnight installation of PEDs / half height PEDs. It takes weeks and weeks to prepare the platform edges to take the weight on the new equipment and associated services. It then takes longer to install, commission and test the gates / doors. Given how much of the Underground is built to old standards with a myriad of constraints around services, drainage, ducting etc never mind load bearing capability I can’t see PED installation ever being easy. If they are intended for all Picc Line stations then expect to see a lot of platform reconstruction especially out west. Alternatively LU might be going for the “horse race starting line” set up where a cable or similar protects the platform edge and is lifted up once the train has safely stopped at the station. It then lowers to prevent access / egress once the doors have closed. English Heritage are going to love that at Arnos Grove and Sudbury Town – not!

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