HomeRolling Stock and ComponentsDesign launch of the new London Underground Piccadilly line trains

Design launch of the new London Underground Piccadilly line trains

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In March 2021, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London and Michael Peter Global CEO of Siemens Mobility unveiled the design of the forthcoming Piccadilly line trains for London Underground. Transport for London (TfL) commissioned Siemens to supply 94 nine-car Inspiro London trains in November 2018 and new trains will be in operation on London Underground’s (LU’s) Piccadilly line from 2025. The contract has options that will enable LU to additionally order further trains to enable a standard fleet of trains on the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City lines in the future, subject to funding agreement.

The new metro platform, called Inspiro London, was specifically developed for the capital city, and sets new standards in design and innovation to meet LU’s unique and diverse requirements.

They boast a 10 per cent capacity increase thanks to increased length and articulated design that reduces the number of bogies required per full-length train whilst maximising the available interior space – important in the space-constrained Tube environment.

The train follows the principles of the design developed by Priestman Goode which reflects the Tube’s iconic heritage whilst delivering a modern look.  It also delivers cost savings through increased reliability, greater standardisation of train operations, staff training, equipment, spares and maintenance especially if adopted on all four lines.

The longer, more spacious, air-conditioned trains – with HVAC units integrated under the train – will be fully walk-through, boosting accessibility and ensuring customers can move easily to quieter areas. They will also be lighter, more energy-efficient and significantly more technologically advanced than current trains, with digital screens for real-time customer information and advertising fitted throughout.

The new trains feature regenerative braking and cutting-edge traction systems using low-loss permanent magnet motors and auxiliary electric systems that feature silicon carbide technology, as well as Lithium Ion batteries. Eight of the ten bogies will have motors.

When combined with LED lighting and advanced energy management, overall energy consumption is reduced by 20 per cent compared with the existing fleet. They will also emit less heat into the tunnels than current rolling stock. Indeed, it is the light weight, efficient traction drives and regenerative braking that enable air conditioning without the tunnels becoming overheated.

Rail Engineer hopes to provide a much more detailed article about the engineering of the train soon.

Key Features

  • a modern take on a heritage design aligned with London Underground’s iconic image
  • Enhanced passenger safety and better passenger flow due to open, walk-through carriages
  • Large door openings to facilitate easy access on and off the train
  • Maximised interior space and 10 per cent increased passenger capacity
  • Energy consumption reduction of 20 per cent compared to the existing fleet
  • More comfortable, cooler travel environment thanks to innovative, underfloor air-conditioning units
  • Passenger information screens for dynamic travel information plus advertisement/video displays
  • Increased reliability and high availability thanks to redundant system design of vital components
  • Cost-efficient optimised maintenance periodicity
  • Significantly lighter, track-friendly, multi-articulated train design with a smoother ride
  • Smart remote monitoring and digital services using Siemens’ Railigent® to improve train performance
  • Optimised whole lifecycle costs
Malcolm Dobell BTech CEng FIMechE
Malcolm Dobell BTech CEng FIMechEhttp://therailengineer.com
SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, depots, systems integration, fleet operations. Malcolm Dobell worked for the whole of his 45-year career with London Underground. He entered the Apprentice Training Centre in Acton Works in 1969 as an engineering trainee, taking a thin sandwich course at Brunel University, graduating with an honours degree in 1973. He then worked as part of the team supervising the designs of all the various items of auxiliary equipment for new trains, which gave him experience in a broad range of disciplines. Later, he became project manager for the Jubilee Line’s first fleet of new trains (displaced when the extension came along), and then helped set up the train refurbishment programme of the 90s, before being appointed Professional Head of Rolling stock in 1997. Malcolm retired as Head of Train Systems Engineering in 2014 following a career during which he had a role in the design of all the passenger trains currently in service - even the oldest - and, particularly, bringing the upgraded Victoria line (rolling stock and signalling) into service. He is a non-executive director of CPC Systems, a systems engineering company that helps train operators improve their performance. A former IMechE Railway Division Chairman and a current board member, he also helps to organise and judge the annual Railway Challenge and is the chair of trustees for a multi academy trust in Milton Keynes.


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