London Underground awards major signalling contract

14 June 2011  •  Source: Transport for London (TfL)

The new signalling system will bring huge increases in capacity to 40 per cent of the Tube network. Faster, more reliable trains, more often on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.

Less disruption for Londoners as the need for closures is reduced.

London Underground (LU) has awarded Bombardier Transportation the contract to upgrade the signalling on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.

The new signalling contract was finalised over the weekend following a statutory ‘standstill’ period.

Alongside the fleet of 191 new air-conditioned walk-through trains, already being rolled out on the Metropolitan line, the new signalling system, when complete, will mean passengers can travel more quickly, and frequently on all of the sub-surface lines, which together make up 40 per cent of the Tube network.

Capacity upgrade

Overall the upgrade, which is due for completion in 2018, will mean:

  • 24 per cent more capacity on the District line by providing space for an extra 10,000 passengers an hour – increasing the line’s capacity from 40,000 to 50,000 passengers an hour
  • 27 per cent more capacity on the Metropolitan line by providing space for an extra 9,500 more passengers an hour – increasing the line’s capacity from 35,000 to 44,500 passengers an hour
  • 65 per cent more capacity on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines, delivered through new signalling, longer trains and recent improvements to service frequency. In total the upgrade will provide space for an extra 17,500 more passengers each hour – increasing the capacity from 26,000 to 43,500 passengers an hour

London Underground has been working with and learning from other metros around the world in order to identify innovative ways to upgrade the Tube while minimising disruption.

As a result, Bombardier Transportation, who recently upgraded the signalling on the Madrid Metro, has committed to installing and testing the new signalling system without any need for weekend closures.

Moving millions

There will still be a need for weekend closures to upgrade track and platforms, however these will not be the full line closures that have been experienced during previous upgrade work on other lines under the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: ‘The signing of this contract means that we can now proceed with one of the most important elements of the Tube upgrade programme.

‘The Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines are the oldest in the Capital, making up a large chunk of the Tube network and moving a million Londoners every day.

‘This new contract will deliver the minimum amount of closures while delivering the improvements all Londoners are desperate to see.’

LU Managing Director, Mike Brown said: ‘This is a major step forward in our plan to upgrade the Tube and will mean faster, more frequent and reliable Tube services across 40 per cent of the Tube network.

‘We know that line closures are disruptive to our customers and as a result we have insisted on the delivery of the new signalling system without the need for the kind of closures we have seen on other lines.’

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