Four London Underground lines to receive signalling upgrade

3 August 2015  •  Author(s): Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, Eurotransport

Transport for London (TfL) has awarded transportation systems provider Thales the contract to provide signalling upgrade work across 40 percent of the London Underground network.

Four London Underground lines to receive signalling upgrade

The modernisation of signalling and train control systems will provide faster and more reliable journeys for passengers travelling on the Circle, District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines. According to TfL the contract will create and sustain up to 1,100 jobs and 60 apprenticeships in London and the UK.

Improvement work is expected to begin later this year with the main benefits delivered by 2020. Once complete, capacity on each line is expected to grow by a third by which time 32 trains are expected to run per hour at peak times through central London.  Capacity will be increase further by the introduction of a new train control system implemented initially on the Circle line by 2022. During 2023 the final improvements will be delivered, with a further boost to peak and off-peak frequency on the Metropolitan line.

The agreed contract follows the modernisation of the Victoria, Jubilee and Northern lines providing additional services and capacity for the growing capital.

Nick Brown, Managing Director of London Underground, said: “Having successfully modernised three of the most heavily used lines on our network, we are ready to begin work to bring the next four lines into the modern era.  This will transform the journeys of millions of our customers, significantly increasing service reliability and frequency. 

“We have a very clear delivery plan and timetable for the work and, as we have done with the modernisation of the Northern line, we will keep London moving and growing as we do it.  In parallel, we will continue to deliver a better, more reliable service every day which builds on the work over recent years to reduce delays to their lowest ever level.”

The Thales contract to upgrade signalling and train control systems on the four London Underground lines is worth £760 million, 18 percent less than the modernisation of the Northern line which was around half the cost of the Jubilee and Victoria line modernisations.

Patrice Caine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Thales said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Transport for London and to continue to bring our global expertise in the field of transportation systems to the London Underground. Our technology is in operation on over 80 metro lines in 40 of the world’s largest cities, including New York, Dubai, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

“If the Jubilee and Northern lines’ success is any indicator, future travellers on the Circle, District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines will experience; faster journeys, reduced over-crowding and increased service reliability. Once completed, 60 per cent of the London Underground will have been modernised using Thales signalling technology.”

The overall budget for the four line modernisation programme has been confirmed as £5.41 billion, which represents a reduction of £131 million compared to an earlier estimate announced in March.  This budget includes investment in 191 new modern air-conditioned walk through trains, already introduced on the Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City and District lines, new track, lengthened platforms and new train depots with the latest technology to ensure train reliability.

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