Transport for London has announced that the first section of brand-new signalling set to transform nearly half of the Tube network has begun operation.
The new Thales signalling system is now operating between Hammersmith and Latimer Road, the first part of the network to benefit from the improvements. The new, state-of-the-art signal control centre at Hammersmith is already operational, and the new S-stock Tube trains have been running exclusively on the four lines since 2017.
The new signalling system will allow trains to run closer together on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, meaning the train frequency will increase in central London from 28 to 32 per hour when complete. It will also improve the reliability of these lines. The frequency increases will be introduced from 2021, with the project targeted for completion in 2023. This will lead to a capacity increase of a third on the four lines, equivalent to the space for an extra 36,500 customers during peak times.
“The modernisation of these four lines will make a massive difference to hundreds of thousands of customers every day by making journeys quicker and more comfortable. It will also make customer information more accurate and improve reliability in the long-term. The introduction of the first section of new signalling is a really exciting step for the Tube, and for everyone who uses these lines,” Stuart Harvey, TfL’s Director of Major Projects, said.
The modernisation of the four lines will mean that some of the oldest equipment on the Tube network will be replaced. This includes signal boxes across the network, including one at Edgware Road that was built in 1926. The lines carry a combined 1.3 million customers per day, all of whom are already benefitting from the new, walk-through, air-conditioned trains that were introduced for the first time in 2010.