Sunday, 25 May 2008

London Underground S stock plan [possibly] modified

The subsurface lines (District, Circle, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City) are all due to have their trains replaced by S Stock from 2009-2015, which will feature air-conditioning and walk-through connections between carriages. The first two trains are already under construction.

The plan was to replace the elderly trains on the Metropolitan Line first like-for-like with 8 car trains, followed by 7 car trains on all the other lines. Since the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines currently use 6 car trains, some platforms would need extending and many sidings could no longer be used. The TfL board papers have consistently mentioned "affordability issues" with resolving this issue.

That brings us to an article in the latest issue of Modern Railways which claims the plan has been scrapped. Instead the Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines will be first to get the new stock because - according to MR - the H&C is due to become a "major Olympic artery". They'll be delivered as 6 car trains with the 7 car upgrade looked at again after the Olympics. The Metropolitan Line will be next to get new trains (possibly only 7 cars to begin with due to the needed "infrastructure improvements") and finally the District Line will get its 7 car trains.

No source is given, though it's implied the changes are part of the re-negotiated contract with Bombardier (who are building the S Stock) that follows the collapse of Metronet. On the other hand, Bombardier themselves announced agreement had been reached without these changes back on April 1st, a claim that's even repeated on page 46 of the same magazine.

And if it means anything, District Dave's prjb (one of the people at LU designing the trains with Bombardier) says the prototype train is 8 cars long, No word yet from him about the article.


stephen_wc1 said...

H&C line to be a major Olympic Artery. But I thought it was changing into the Hammersmith-Edgeware Road-Kings Cross - Aldgate-Victoria-Edgeware Road line? Or is that scheduled for after the Olympics?

Alex said...

I smell typical TfL spin - probably they just realized that out of all stocks the H&C/Circle one is the most unreliable and must be replaced first.

Stephen, this is what they are going to change Circle into, not the H&C.

THC said...

And so the venerable 'A' stock may continue into its sixth decade. I'd be happy with that.


Anonymous said...

They were planning to combine the Hammersmith Branch of the H&C with the Circle Line because they said the Circle Line is difficult to timetable because trains keep going around in circles rather than terminating. They said that they wanted to add the L'pool Street to Barking part to the Metropolitan Line possibly.

While they're at it, why don't they extend the Metropolitan Line to Tower Hill: It's much busier than Aldgate and has an Interchange with Fenchurch Street.

Si Hollett said...

7-car S stock on the Met will bring the people of Northwood to a revolt! They were upset enough that they will get a sideways facing seat with a lower back (as the good ones would be taken by people further north), but now they won't even get that. The complaints of 'there's less seats' will be all the louder if this is true!

On the plus side, it means that A stock will hang around, so the upper end of the Met line will have good ol' A stock for longer, before taking the retrograde step (in comfort) to S stock.

Alan said...

As a north of Northwood person I am alarmed that the S stock may be worse than the noisy, draughty,bumpy A stock, and possibly with a coach missing as well! Tell me how it will be better. My vote is for the Chiltern line, whose trains are a thousand times better than A stock, to take over the Amersham line.

Mr Thant (Editor) said...

Alan: Chiltern's trains were built by Bombardier in the same factory as the S Stock, so you may find they're very similar.