The morning commute through the bowels of the London Underground system can feel like a marathon run through Dante's seven circles of Hell, and cramped tube carriages, long overdue an upgrade, only make matters worse. London's population is expected to grow from 8.4 million today to 10 million by 2030, so the transport system needs a makeover and fast. Thankfully, the future of the tube seems to be in safe hands. Design team PriestmanGoode has today revealed the next-generation of London's tube trains, which should roll out onto the tracks at some point in the 2020s.
250 of the new trains will be built to serve the Bakerloo, Central, Piccadilly and Waterloo & City lines, equipped with air conditioning and a new walkthrough carriage design.
These wider trains will massively increase capacity, too -- the Central line capacity will grow 25 per cent to 12,000 passengers an hour, the Bakerloo line will grow 25 per cent to 8,000 passengers an hour, the Waterloo and City line will double to 9,000 customers an hour and the Piccadilly line will be able to move a massive 60 per cent more people, up to 19,000 customers per hour. The Piccadilly line will take priority in the roll out, as it is expected to have the most rapid increase in passenger numbers in the coming years. Modernised signalling systems will also be introduced to keep delays to a minimum.
"The New Tube for London will change the face of travel on the Underground," said Mike Brown MVO, Managing Director of London Underground, on today's unveiling.
"The faster, more frequent and more reliable services it will enable will help us keep pace with London's growing population. The design respects the past but also looks to the future and with the very latest technology; including walk-through carriages and wider doors to enable people to get on and off quickly as well as providing air-cooling for the first time on the deep level lines."
Though initially requiring a driver, all the new tubes will eventually be able to run in a fully driverless mode -- which hasn't been lost on the strike-threatening RMT union. However, despite London Underground's 2020 projected roll-out for the new trains, leaked documents suggest that the new trains may not be ready until well into the 2030s. Don't throw away that mini hand fan just yet, then. [TFL]