The first of the newly refurbished Central line trains has been back out on the line today as it completes live testing while based at the Hainault depot.

Although there are a lot of changes, the most visible will be the new seat pattern moquette, likely to be called Tuppeny — after the Central line’s early nickname of the Tuppeny Tube because of the low cost of the fare. The pattern on the moquette shows the classic tube roundel, but also the older diamond “roundel” that was in use on parts of the London Underground managed by the Metropolitan line.

(c) TfL

The upgrade is not just cosmetic though, and is needed because the 30-year old Central line trains are among the least reliable on the entire London Underground.

The work being carried out, under the name of the Central Line Improvement Project (CLIP) will install wheelchair bays to improve accessibility, screens in carriages to enhance customer information during travel and new refreshed seating including the new moquette.

Each carriage is also fitted with CCTV cameras, the first time they’ve been installed on trains on the Central line.

Andy Lord, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “Millions of people from the east and west of London, as well as from Essex, rely on the Central line to reach the centre of the city every day. It is crucial to driving London’s economy in bringing people to areas like the West End, Oxford Street and Stratford. The work will install CCTV on trains, making our customers safer, and will also bring significant accessibility improvements. London is for everyone, and the innovative work by our hard-working engineers will mean more people can use this crucial line as safely as possible.”

(c) TfL

Once testing of the first train has concluded, production will ramp up with the project returning one train to service per month once the work on it has been completed. Five trains will be taken out of service at a time to maximise production, with increasing numbers entering into passenger service over the next four years.

The project involves stripping Central line trains down to the frames, with every other part either replaced or improved. The floors are removed, new poles installed and new driving systems put in place. The wiring within the trains is also totally revamped, with new power sources and control systems alongside the two CCTV cameras that will be in each carriage. New lighting, improved doors and new seats complete the work.

TfL is working with more than 30 manufacturers nationwide to supply the parts for this programme. The trains will be worked on by a team of over 125 fitters based at Acton, with several apprentices also taking part over the project’s lifetime as part of TfL’s commitment to train the next generation.

The overhaul of the trains should keep them in service until they can be replaced with trains based on the forthcoming Piccadilly line trains. Those trains will initially be provided to the Piccadilly line, then, if funding is found, on the Bakerloo line, and lastly on the Central line.


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  1. Keith says:

    From looking at the second photo another noticeable difference is the addition of the information screens. They appear to be similar to those on the Northern line. This will be a welcome improvement on the existing stock. One assumes the speakers in the carriages will also have been improved, so that you can hear what is being said.

  2. Timbo BG says:

    And improved lighting by the look of it. It’s my local line and has always been the dreariest, dingiest travelling experience. Hot too. I suppose aircon will have to wait for the next generation of rolling stock?

    • Chris Rogers says:

      That’s because of the tinted glass

    • LarryH57 says:

      I’m old enough to be excited about 30 years ago when the current stock of trains was being introduced in place of the older all silver grey trains were still in use from 1962!

  3. Colin Newman says:

    “I suppose aircon will have to wait for the next generation of rolling stock?” IIUC one of the ways the new tube for London can have air cooling is because it has fewer bogies. They sit at the ends of the carriages so they are shared with the next carriage. This leaves more space under the floor for other equipment.

    Of course a key challenge for cooling trains running in narrow tunnels that have been heated up for c 120 years is what to do with the heat taken out of the carriages.

  4. Sunil says:

    Another challenge would be to actually re-bore the “narrow tunnels” to take standard-width rolling stock. Way back in 1904, Drayton Park to Moorgate was actually built with standard-width running tunnels.

    • ChrisC says:

      Which would be inordinately expensive as well as disruptive to such a degree it’s an idea not worth pursuing.

    • Bart says:

      “Which would be inordinately expensive as well as disruptive to such a degree it’s an idea not worth pursuing.”

      Great, then let’s do nothing and just bump the prices every year, while London population growing rapidly make commuters even more cramped in these heat cans.

    • Andy T says:

      It would be simpler and quite possibly cheaper to build a new line. The disruption would be on an unimaginable scale, think back to when the central line was closed after the chancery lane incident and multiply in by ten and then double it

  5. NG says:

    “If funding is found” – for the Bakerloo line, that is.
    Given this “government”, it’s all too likely they would let it rot away, same as HS2.
    Just a bunch of wreckers

  6. Dan says:

    Thanks for this article – cant wait to ride in one. Anyone know if a Northern Line train revamp is on the cards? The stock is deteriorating and increasingly filthy and uncomfortable to ride.

  7. LarryH57 says:

    I’m old enough to be excited about 30 years ago when the current stock of trains was being introduced in place of the older all silver grey trains were still in use from 1962!

  8. GEORGE says:

    To me they are effectively come and gone. I was brought up on the silver 1962 stock. The 1992s still seem new to me as if just put into service. This remark is being written as I stand inside one of the old red District Line trains which was replaced by something which is gone now.

  9. Alex Mckenna says:

    I thought they might replace those dull orange destination displays at the front of the cab with bright LEDs, but it looks like they’ve been kept. I found them difficult to make out, even with a squint.

  10. drhhmb says:

    Well, I was brought up on the pre-war stock. Now I am an oldie with stiff joints, I regret that they do not seem to replacing the arm rests, which were as I recall originally on the trains but were removed. On other lines, they are a blessing when trying to push oneself up from the seat.

  11. Ted says:

    I am really excited to see these beauty’s in sevice but when are they gonna be released?

  12. Pam says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with the comment about the need for armrests/seat dividers. It is most uncomfortable when large people spill over into one’s seating space!

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