Numbers Are Bigger In London
The media was all over the news that the first new Piccadilly Line train has gone for testing in Germany.
When first proposed, some of the ideas were a bit far fetched …
… and just a little ugly!
What finally emerged did away with the “snout” and produced something less controversial but still distnctive.
But the train as a whole is full of new technologies and brand new design features. Before we look at the train itself here is a video by Geoff Marshall. It is from the past, but includes a meeting with Mr Khan, mega Metro Mayor of the Metropolis. It is a bit longer than fbb’s usual video download, but well worth a watch.
The idea, then, is that these trains become the new standard for the Underground, with stock for the Bakerloo and Central line following on from the Piccadilly order.
But Mr Khan needs the Government to pay the bill – and it is a huuuuge bill.
Transport for London estimates that the total cost of the Piccadilly line project as £2.9 billion. But you can bet your bottom £1 billion that it will be more by the time it is finished. If you add in the other lines, it does make the Lyon project look like small change!
What will London get for its money?
There will be a lot of work to ensure better platform height to allow easy wheelchair access; including ramps where lifting the platform is impractical.
They have been called Harrington humps.
There is to be a major upgrade of depots …
… and storage sidings. Depots will be more environmentally sustainable.
But it is the new trains, arriving from 2025, that have hit the headlines. Announcements suggested that they would be “articulated” which fbb interpreted as shared bogies at each coach end. Not so, old fellow!
Five of the nine carriages will have a bogie at both ends, just like any other conventional Underground train. Four of the carriages will be “suspended” between the ends of the normal sections. You can spot the set-up in the photo below.
Once inside, you will be able to look down the whole length of the nine car tube. It would have to be an uncharacteristically empty train to see all the way.
The above is only a mock-up.
As usual with a new production run of trains, a new seat covering moquette has been designed.
The design, we are told, includes allusions to Piccadilly line stations designed by the great Charles Holden. Apparently, parts of Southgate station are referenced.
And it is still there today …
… with the “thing” on the top!
Many of the line’s northern extension stations were designed by Mr Holden and they are well worth a visit.
But the big development for the new trains is the provision of air conditioning – the very first on a deep level London tube train. All the gubbins is hidden under and over the carriage body, so there is nothing to see; but, assuming that it works, what you won’t see is sweaty, exhausted commuters desperate to escape from the entirely free of charge sauna!
So good news all round!
A question for Mr Kham. When do we expect these new trains for the Central and Bakerloo lines?
This was a TfL statement in 2015.
Late 2020s? BUT …
But when will that be?
TfL have confirmed that the current schedule for deployment begins with the Piccadilly Line in 2022, to be finished by 2025. This is to be followed by the Bakerloo Line, completing in 2027 and the Central Line/Waterloo & City to be completed by 2032.
The Piccadilly line is already THREE years overdue, so …
This was the “London List” web site in 2021.
You’ve probably noticed every bump in the track between Harrow & Wealdstone and Queen’s Park on the London Underground Bakerloo line.
That’s because the trains on the line are the oldest trains in regular passenger service in the entire country.
Their rustic feel comes from their 1970s design. The trains, now 49 years old, came into service in 1972 and are the least accessible on the Tube network, with a mix of longitudinal (sideways) and transversal (forward-facing) seating and level boarding at only a handful of stations.
Transport for London (TfL)’s budget plans published yesterday (July 26 2021) confirm that: “New Bakerloo line trains to replace the oldest fleet in the UK” will be ordered in the financial year 2023/2024 …
So any day now? But there is a snag.
… on the basis that TfL gets £1.6billion it wants in funding from the government for capital investment.
Ahh. Yes. Well. Um.
We now know tht HMG and Mr Khan have been in a venomous dispute, because the latter is spending far more money tan the former thinks he should and has run up massive debts. Mr Khan says it is all because of Covid, but it clearly isn’t. A few months back Transport for London came perilously close to simply running out of money.
Which is why fares went up and Mr Khan wants to get rid of the Travelcard and make life more expensive for the 14+ million users in any one year. At the same time, he only charges £1.55 for any single bus ride.
And he is introducing the Superloop to increase capacity on a selection of local routes in the suburbs whilst reducing frequencies in the busy central area.
Having fettled up the 50 year old Bakerloo trains, there is every excuse to postpone the new order.
Will Mt Khan get his money?
Underground watchers suspect there is no chance until he gets the present TfL finances back in some sort of order.
The new Piccadilly stock is designed to be convertible to driverless operation. Almost everyone is utterly opposed to this idea despite its popular and operational success on the Paris metro; not forgetting Docklands Light Railway.
fbb does admit that a Paris train zooming into a station without a driver in the front is, somehow, peculiar.
But it works!
And It Works As Well
Remove the cling film (see yesterday’s blog) and you can’t see the join. Well, actually you can see the join because (a) the new green is too bright and (b) there’s a gurt big hole at the top.
But a bit of darker paint and some bushy undergrowth and the job should be done. The hole looks worse from further left – not photographed.
Recent Weather Review By Mrs fbb
Translation tomorrow! Shouldn’t it be “Keek OOT the windae” as in “Oot the day”?
Actually it’s from a porridge packet!
This is part of a model of an old BR wagon/coach.
CLUE : The partial letter to the right of the BR “zot” is an “ M “.
So what did the vehicle carry? If you are very astute, you might even know who built it.
Next Variety blog : Saturday 5th August