TfL has shown off the latest designs for its new fleet of Piccadilly line trains, including the new moquette that will adorn the seats.
The design for the moquette was approved internally by TfL in April following work with the Independent Disability Advisory Group (IDAG) to ensure the trains are fully accessible by improving the colour contrast with the internal grab poles.
At the same time, the cost of buying the fleet of 94 new trains and associated network upgrades has been reduced by around 10 per cent, from £3.29 billion to £2.99 billion. However, the arrival of the first train in passenger service has been pushed back from Autumn 2024 to sometime in 2025.
The delay is mainly due to upgrades on the London Underground network being pushed back, as Siemens, who are building the trains are largely on schedule.
The new fleet of trains is needed as the current trains are over 45 years old, and as the line carries around 10 per cent of London Underground traffic, delaying the replacement of the old trains is not a viable option.
Back in May 2018, TfL authorised the purchase of the new fleet of trains, and the necessary upgrades to the London Underground network to house them, mainly depot upgrades and a lot of signalling work.
The trains represent about half the cost of the contract, with the other half being the upgrades to the London Underground network.
As the trains have much wider doors than the current trains, they can spend less time in stations picking up and dropping off passengers, TfL expects that to enable them to be able to increase peak capability on the Piccadilly line from 24 to 27 trains per hour from 2027.
Along with the 10 per cent additional space inside the trains, the net effect is a capacity increase of around a quarter on the Piccadilly line compared to today.
There is also a — currently on hold — plan to upgrade the signalling system on the Piccadilly line, which would increase capacity from 27 to 36 trains per hour.
The final design has been signed off, and Siemens expect to start manufacturing the first trains this autumn at its factory in Vienna. Production will shift in 2023 to their new factory in Goole, East Yorkshire. In total, around half of the new Piccadilly line trains will be manufactured in the UK.