One of the periodic reports from TfL has been released with details of ongoing network upgrades across the networks it controls over the past few months. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on when the lines are closed at weekends, this will inform you.

Station upgrades

Bank station upgrade (c) TfL


Most of the tunneling for the upgrade is nearly complete and the waterproofing of the new tunnels continues ahead of schedule. The secondary lining has now started, along the new Central line moving walkway tunnel.

Tunnelling works from the new station box for the new lift shaft has started.

Bond Street

Works continue to provide improved airflow to the new Elizabeth line tunnel.

Hackney Central 

TfL is in discussions over a potential scheme with the London Borough of Hackney, from whom confirmation of a land transfer is required.

Finsbury Park

A new passageway linking the existing station to the future western station entrance is almost complete. Testing and commissioning of the new lifts was completed and the station became step-free at the end of January.


As part of the upgrade, they have started enabling and civils works on the lift shaft to the platform.


On 30 November 2018, testing and commissioning works were completed, which enabled the Bakerloo line link to be ready for integration with the Elizabeth line. Two new escalators and a new lift have been installed.

Tottenham Hale

Works to non-customer areas were completed on 7 November and foundation works have also been completed. Works above ground level will follow pending a resolution with the train operating company and Network Rail regarding revenue protection issues.


The station upgrade has been opened in stages. Within the past quarter, all passenger facing facilities have been opened. The overall completion of the station, surrounding buildings and urban realm are planned for mid-2019.


The replacement Southbank entrance is due to open in Spring 2019.

White Hart Lane

TfL is ontinuing construction of the new ticket hall, and have completed extensive civil works associated with the new structure.

Line upgrades

Northern line extension (c) TfL

Bakerloo line

TfL has completed structural weld repairs to carriages on 30 out of 36 trains and expect to complete the remaining trains by mid-2019.

As part of the signalling and control life extension, LU has procured new computer hardware which is undergoing testing in advance of software integration. This will replace 1980s equipment still in use.

Central line

TfL moved a carriage to the Bombardier test site to start prototyping for a new AC traction package to improve power supply reliability. The have also awarded the LED lighting contract and are at preferred bidder stage on new flooring.

Siemens Mobility has started the design for the life extension of the signalling and control systems. Once the design has been finalised TfL will run a pilot to test the solution.

District line

TfL is designing a train protection warning system for the Richmond to Gunnersbury branch to enable the to interchange the fleet between lines and improve reliability across the network.

Jubilee line

In late 2018, they improved the tunnel ventilation system to reduce temperature increases in the Jubilee line tunnels between Baker Street and Green Park following the introduction of a new timetable.

Enhancements to the Jubilee line continue to be developed, which includes improving the speed that trains exit the depot onto the mainline at Neasden. This is part of the works aiming to increase the capacity to 32 trains per hour on the central section in the peak by the end of 2021.

37 refurbished trains out of 63 trains are now back in service.

Northern line

They have already completed the speed improvement and track works for more capacity on the Northern line and started power enhancement works with the award of a design and build contract to Balfour Beatty.

Following the commissioning of the City Road ventilation and heat recovery scheme last quarter, the remaining works, which will deliver low carbon heat from the Northern line to local homes and businesses, are expected to be delivered by the London Borough of Islington in early 2019.

Piccadilly line

The started commissioning the new signalling control system at the control centre in west London, which will migrate control between Acton Town and South Harrow in spring 2019. This is also LU’s first fully accessible control room for staff.

Each commissioned section handed to the new control centre also allows information displays on platforms and in ticket halls that have been inoperable for a number of years to be brought back into use.

The signalling life extension works have seen the start of signal lamps being replaced with LED units which use less energy and require less maintenance than the current filament lamps. Completion due next month reduces the need for staff to access the track.

Subsurface lines

The scope of the new signalling testing has been extended and now includes the route from Hammersmith to Stepney Green, Monument and Finchley Road, and around Earls Court. The first section will go live in the first quarter of 2019.

TfL is targeting commissioning of the whole Circle line by the end of 2019 to support an early timetable uplift in March 2020.

Victoria line

Work continues to award the contract in early 2019 for re-signalling the Northumberland Park Depot. Replacing the original (1960’s) system, this will
cater for the 36 train per hour peak service provided by the Victoria Line Upgrade.

Crossrail / Elizabeth line

Dynamic testing began in January 2019, which includes multiple trains running at service speed through both tunnels. During this process a number of tests are carried out on the onboard train software and signalling systems. While the total number of tests completed is behind target the number of tests passed and the number of test hours completed are both ahead of target. Some of the key issues include lack of engineering resource with key suppliers and coordination between suppliers. The next software update for the train has now been installed ahead of the second run of dynamic testing which started on 15 February 2019.

Testing of the new rolling stock was undertaken in the Heathrow tunnels using European Train Control System (ETCS) during two weekends in January 2019. This was helpful in making progress towards Stage 2 Phase 2 where the 4tph service between Heathrow and Paddington will be provided by the Class 345 rolling stock.

Works to some of the west London stations will be completed later than December 2019 due to challenges in aligning Crossrail station works, which has slipped significantly, with the Crossrail complementary measures.

London Overground

Barking Riverside Extension saw the successful completion of key enabling works on the overhead line equipment sectioning and switching works during a Network Rail Christmas possession.

They have extended the lease on the trains currently running on the Goblin line to allow for the delay to the new trains.

The first modified electric four-car train ran from Barking to Gospel Oak on Monday 28 January, with the second one entering service on Tuesday 12 February.


They are upgrading the vehicle control centre to simplify the signalling borders around the central section of the railway. This removes conflicts that can occur when trains move from one section to another.

Also on ianVisits

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6 comments on “London railway upgrades – a progress report
  1. Ben Ormerod says:

    The main entrance is open and new lifts are working at Manor Park.

  2. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Any news on about a brand new railway station at New Bermondsey in Southeast London on the London Overground. Will a new Overground station will be built at New Bermondsey as it will be located close to Millwall Football Club as well serving Millwall and Bermondsey area in the London Borough of Lewisham. Adding to another brand new railway station in London. With Meridian Water station in North London is to open in May 19th this year and Angel Road station to close on the same day as Meridian Water is replacing Angel Road on the West Anglia Main Line.

    • PeteC says:

      Last I heard (which admittedly was about 6 months ago) was that the GLA had withdrawn some (all?) of it’s funding for the New Bermondsey development, leaving Lewisham Council a shortfall of around £20million. That (I understood) put the whole projects – for housing and light industrial development) on hold, so obviously the station would be affected too. I’m sure someone else has more up to date information.

    • Andrew Gwilt says:

      Suppose the new station at New Bermondsey could be cancelled. Unless work has already started for the new station to be built close to Millwall FC stadium and the surrounding area.

  3. Julia Hanson says:

    Thank you for this informative and succinct summing up of London’s rail network. Interesting to read how old some of the systems are and the mammoth task that’s in progress. What excellent research.

  4. tim says:

    Great summary – thanks!

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