News of any refurbishments and upgrades on tube lines is always welcomed with glee at Secret London, particularly considering most, if not all, trains on the London Underground could do with a makeover. Well, it seems that the Central Line has received such star treatment after all existing 85 trains are undergoing a £500 million refurbishment to get them in tip-top swanky shape.
The revamp will see Central Line trains getting long-awaited CCTV cameras and a brand new moquette pattern inspired by the Central Line’s history which was previously top secret but has now been revealed as the first newly done up train has been rolled out for passenger service at the end of November. The current stock of trains was first released in 1992 so a do-up was certainly needed for the line and this upgrade hopes to extend the lives of the trains by “15 to 20 years” according to Colette Farrer, head of capital delivery for London Underground.
Five trains are being refurbished at a time with each train receiving 10 weeks of work. The project will return one train to service every month and will take until 2029 to complete with all newly upgraded 85 trains returned to service. Part of the refurbishment will also see the train wheels replaced, a much-needed task as these can lose up to 20cm due to years of friction against the rails.
The trains will also be more wheelchair accessible with 12 seats removed to create two wheelchair bays, each able to accommodate two wheelchair users or as space for other passengers to stand when not needed by someone in a wheelchair. There will be two CCTV cameras in each carriage creating a total of 16 on the whole train, alongside a comprehensive overhaul of the train engines, internal LED lighting and digital signs that will inform passengers which station the train is at.
In an effort to reduce crime and capture any major incidents, the trains will have a CCTV data box which can store up to 30 days of footage with excellent picture quality, along with a ‘black-box’ data recorder which can capture information about incidents.
Sam McDonough, the senior project manager, has said, “the trains come in a really poor condition. They are really unreliable. They have been out there for 30 years so they really are in a real state. The floor often has holes and needs to be welded and made structurally sound. We are trying to upgrade all the systems and bring them up to a modern standard.”
Seb Dance, the deputy mayor for transport, commented, “This programme is about increasing capacity, improving traction, putting in wheelchair bays and LED lighting, CCTV and dot matrix displays. It will make a big difference to not just the interior experience of sitting in the [carriage] but the reliability of the service as well. These trains have new motors, which means they will save energy. With the new computer technology, we will be able to run a much more reliable service on the Central line.”