Is the "Inspirio" the Air-Conditioned Future of the London Underground Tube?

By Gerald Lynch on at

The sweaty, cramped, pervert's haven that is the London Underground system at rush hour could become a distant memory if this Siemens redesign concept for the Tube train gets the greenlight.

Called the Inspirio, each £1 million carriage would be fully air-conditioned -- one of the most often-requested upgrades by regular Tube users, especially when summer temperatures on the deepest lines hit heights of over 35C, exacerbated further by overcrowding.

Other improvements would include the removal of single-door carriage entries in favour of evenly spaced double leaf doors across the trains, while wider gangways and calming LED lighting would ease the feeling of claustrophobia some passengers experience.

From the point of view of the service runners, benefits would include a 30 per cent increase in running cost efficiency thanks to the Inspirio being 20 per cent lighter than existing Tube trains, while the modular make-up of the futuristic carriages would allow the Inspirio to match the platform lengths of individual lines by simply shifting around the number of cars in use. Across a year, kitting out the Tube system with the Inspirio concept would save enough energy to power 30,000 homes, while the use of 95 per cent recyclable, sustainable materials further improves the Inspirio's green-credentials.

So what are the chances of us ever seeing them in use in the London Underground system? Siemens are ticking off many of Mayor Boris Johnson's Tube upgrade wishlist points by promising any orders placed could be fulfilled by UK workers, while the strike-fearing Tory would also love the fact that the Inspirio could be outfitted with an entirely driverless system.

For now however, the Inspirio makes up part of an exhibition marking the Tube's 150th anniversary at the Crystal centre at the Royal Victoria Docks, London. Go check it out for a glimpse of what your children's daily commute could be like.