£16 billion is being injected into London's Underground tube system, with a new fleet of air-conditioned, walk-through trains top of the wishlist of the Underground's MD.
200 new trains are to be ordered, serving the deep-level Central, Bakerloo, Waterloo & City and Piccadilly Lines, with the aim being that the "New Tube for London" will have the same wow-factor as the hybrid, so-called "Boris Bus".
"It will have all the modern features such as air cooling and through carriages but will really incorporate our heritage," London Underground's managing director Mike Brown told the Evening Standard. "I don’t want a train to look like a hospital waiting room, I want something that feels distinctively London. The British bottom is very sensitive and we have padded seats on our old trains."
And though the trains will likely feature driverless cabs, London Underground has promised that all Underground train drivers will have a "job for life" -- which will hopefully ease the tensions that lead to the tube strike chaos earlier this month. While the trains may become driverless, each would still have a "captain", like those found on the Docklands Light Railway trains. Also, newer trains that have been recently introduced to the Circle and District Lines will not be phased out any time soon, and will still require a driver in the cab.
The order for the trains is expected to be published soon, with companies including Siemens, Hitachi and Bombardier expected to try to nab the job. Here's hoping Siemens gets the contract. We absolutely fell in love with its "Inspirio" concept design, pictured above, when it was revealed last year. [Standard]