Cooler Trains Coming to Local Tube Lines

The heat is off for passengers from next year

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For further information visit tfl.gov.uk or phone 020 7222 1234 (24 hours) or speak to station staff.

Transport for London is promising travellers on the Circle and Hammersmith and City lines they will be enjoying air conditioned comfort from next year.

District Line passengers however will have to wait till 2013.

Tfl has been setting out the work it continues to carry out to try and cool the Tube network.

On the sub surface lines - that is the District, Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines - it says the roll out of new air-conditioned S stock Tube trains continues and this summer Metropolitan line passengers are able to use them on routes into central London for the first time.

Once the roll out is complete on the Metropolitan line, they will be introduced on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines from 2012 and the District line from 2013. TfL says this means that by 2016, 40% of the network will be air conditioned.

TfL admits however the challenge of cooling the deep level Tube lines  - the Central, Piccadilly, Bakerloo, Jubilee, Victoria and Waterloo and Northern line is one it is still working on.

It explains the Tube is the oldest metro system in the world and its basic tunnel infrastructure has changed little since it was constructed over 145 years ago.

On the deep-level lines, which are unique to London, the heat generated by trains has been passing into the tunnels and the clay surrounding them for many years, meaning the tunnels retain heat. They were also built with only enough room for trains and with very little space for air-conditioning on the trains, inside or outside.

TfL’s acquisition of Tube Lines has created the opportunity for a joint approach to upgrades of the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines including a common design for trains. London Underground, working with the train industry, is looking to develop a train that would be lighter and more energy-efficient, which would mean the possibility of it being able to carry air conditioning equipment.

Using regenerative braking, which returns power back to the rails, could in turn power the air conditioning while not adding to the heat that would be generated powering it. The current plan is that a prototype will be delivered to London Underground by 2015.

Work to double the capacity of the fans at all the main ventilations shafts serving the Victoria line is also due to be completed later this year. A total of nine fans have already been completed and the work on the final four is currently underway.

This week the entire Victoria line train fleet will have been replaced and this will enable LU to operate the environmentally friendly regenerative braking system, which returns power to the rails while the train is braking. That will reduce the amount of heat that is generated and should therefore reduce the temperature in the tunnel.

Coupled with the new trains ventilation system, which will circulate cool air from ground level in the tunnel and distribute it into the carriage at head height, this will mean more comfortable journeys for customers during the hot summer months.

Peter Hendy, London's Transport Commissioner, says: " We know that it can get uncomfortable on the network, and I want to reassure our passengers that we are working hard to overcome the unique and considerable engineering challenge of cooling the Tube.

" We’ve made progress – air-conditioned Tube trains are now operating in central London, and the entire London Overground network is served by a fleet of 57 air conditioned trains.

" By 2016, 191 air conditioned trains will be operating on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. On the Victoria line, significant work has been done to improve ventilation and make journeys for customers more comfortable. "

TfL offers these tips for keeping comfortable in hot weather:

  • - Carry water with you;
  • - Don't board a train or bus if you feel unwell;
  • - If you feel unwell please get off at the next stop and seek help from our staff and;
  • - Avoid pulling the passenger alarm between stations, as help can be more easily obtained with the train in platform.