More of the new Piccadilly trains could be made in the UK after Transport for London (TfL) agreed to new terms with the manufacturer, Siemens Mobility. Currently, half of the new trains are being built in Austria, and Siemens has been building a new factory in Goole, East Yorkshire, to build the rest, but the ratio may have to be increased slightly in the UK’s favour.

New Piccadilly line train on test tracks in Germany (c) ianVisits

The change is due to TfL’s financial situation and delays in delivering depot and infrastructure enabling works to store the new trains when delivered to London. Although the first of the new trains is still on target to come into service in 2025, delivery of each train afterwards could arrive sooner than the depots would be ready.

Siemens and TfL have now agreed to re-phase the delivery of the later trains so that they don’t need to be stored elsewhere. While TfL’s financial situation drives the decision, it has the advantage of potentially increasing how many of the new Piccadilly line trains will be built in the UK, hence supporting jobs in Yorkshire.

However, at the moment, it’s too early to say how many more trains will be built at the Goole factory.

Shifting when the later trains were due to be delivered will give TfL more time to complete the London depot works to store the new trains. The changes will result in the new trains costing more, but savings elsewhere mean that the total Piccadilly line project is unlikely to significantly differ from the original budget.

The first of the new trains will arrive in London next year for testing on the Piccadilly line and will start carrying passengers in 2025. Fortunately for Piccadilly line passengers, the changes to the contract won’t affect the intention to increase the number of trains on the Piccadilly line from 24 to 27 trains per hour by May 2028.

While these amendments to the contract also mean slight delays when TfL pays for each new train so that TfL can deliver its other planned improvements for 2024/25, TfL’s Business Plan continues to assume that 50 per cent of funding for TfL’s major capital investment programmes, such as for rolling stock and signalling projects, from 2025/26 onwards is provided by the Government.

The most recent settlement only covered half of that, leaving TfL having to find an additional £250 million for the year ahead.

If the government also later provides funding to replace the 50+ year old Bakerloo line trains, then the changes to the Piccadilly line train order may reduce the gap between projects and preserve jobs in Goole. When it’s up to full capacity, the Goole factory is expected to employ around 700 jobs directly at the factory and up to 1,700 in the supply chain. But those 2,400 jobs will be dependent on the Bakerloo line order being signed.

With there now being certainty over the capital support from the Government in 2024/25, a new arrangement with Siemens Mobility, and ridership returning to 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, TfL says that it will also be pushing ahead with its planned network upgrades and maintenance programme.

Apart from the delivery of the Piccadilly line trains, there are new DLR trains arriving next year, and TfL will need to start planning for the Bakerloo line trains to arrive by looking for land to use as new stabling. TfL also needs to start the order process to replace south London’s trams, which are getting to the end of their expected lifespan.

Across the Business Plan, TfL will also be progressing towards an entirely decarbonised bus network and aiming for an overall increase of four percent in outer London scheduled bus kilometres, supported by 25km of new bus lanes.

Andy Lord, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “Through a huge effort to reduce costs and rebuild our ridership and revenue following the pandemic, TfL is now on track to be financially sustainable in terms of our day-to-day operations. We are also able to cover the cost of the majority of our capital investment.

“Following the confirmation of £250m in Government support for our capital investment programme, we have had to make difficult decisions about our business plan to ensure we can continue to deliver our vital programme of improvements. In order to achieve this, we are now finalising plans to rephase the timing of payments under the contract with Siemens Mobility, who are delivering the new walk-through and more energy efficient Piccadilly line trains that are currently under construction. This rephasing is not something we would have chosen to do, but we have ensured that it does not impact when the first new train will arrive in London for testing, nor the planned timetable uplift in 2027.

“While we can now deliver our full Business Plan for 2024/25, our shortfall in Government capital investment has only been mitigated in the near term and will reduce the amount of valuable investment we can make in future years, unless further funding is agreed. We, alongside London’s business stakeholders and others, will continue to make the case that ongoing Government support for capital investment in transport is needed if we are to be able to continue to deliver vital improvements to London’s transport network, unlock new homes and support growth across London and the UK.”

TfL is on target to break even this year in operations and start posting increasing surpluses in the future.


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  1. Maurice Reed says:

    Interesting configuration having wheel-less carriages in the sets.

    I wonder if these trains could fit the Bakerloo line? It has the oldest trains in use and it strikes me that increasing production of these trains could be ideal?

    • Chris says:

      If they had the money these would replace the Bakerloo line next. Ideally they find the money so the last Piccadilly line train made at Goole is followed by the first Bakerloo line train. That’s what the factory is set up to do.

    • Andy T says:

      How feasible would it be to use the 73 stock on the Bakerloo if funding isn’t found? Does the line curvature allow it for example?

  2. Simon Adams says:

    Just look at the huge amount of investment in the Paris Metro extensions and then contrast with our pathetic government’s refusal to give money to TfL. We should be pouring money into transport projects but instead we get large project cancellations and childish politics.

    • Paul says:

      Spot on Simon.
      Successive UK governments have been shamefully anti-rail, and more recently, anti-London. They would rather burn money, as with the HS2 disposals, and fund dubious road projects like Stonehenge (£2bn+) or Lower Thames Crossing (£9bn+) than make sensible investments in the rail network.
      I’m going to guess that replacing the Bakerloo fleet would also probably pay for itself through reduced maintenance costs.

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