More Trains and Fewer Delays: TfL Reveals London Underground Tube Upgrade Plans

By Gerald Lynch on at

Transport for London has today detailed how it intends to bring about much-needed upgrade work to the London Underground network.

Promising to run more trains and aiming to reduce delays by 30 per cent, capacity on the Circle, Metropolitan, District and Hammersmith and City lines will increase by 30 per cent. This will in part be achieved by introducing a new train control system, letting the network safely send more trains around the tube lines each hour.

Signalling systems, having been in service for more than a century, will be replaced, with 151 new trains heading to the network too. The £5.54 billion works are expected to bear fruit first on the Circle line, with the benefits of the upgrade coming into practice in 2021. Once the initial four lines are upgraded (currently making up 40 per cent of the network), work will begin on the Piccadilly, Central, Bakerloo and Waterloo & City lines.

"Our plans are all about giving the Tube the tools it needs to deliver an even better service to Londoners and visitors to the capital," said Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.

"We can be proud of what has been achieved on the Underground in the past few years, but with our city's population growing, now is the time to step things up a gear.

"The overhaul of the next set of four lines and installing new signalling is a hugely important task and one that we must get right. By upgrading 40 per cent of the Tube network we will create space for tens of thousands of extra passengers each hour. This will help to ensure London's position as the greatest global city, its continued economic success and cement its reputation as a fantastic place to live, work and visit."

Back in December, I caught up with Paul Priestman, co-founder and director of Priestmangoode, the design agency that's making the next-generation trains set to hit London's transport network by the early 2020's. It was a fascinating chat, and definitely worth a read if you're dreading this evening's commute.