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TFL completes biggest test yet of new signalling system set to transform the Tube


"It’s great news that we have been able to start testing on the next section of the network."

Transport for London (TfL) expanded testing of the new, modern Tube signalling system, which is set to transform the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, to its largest area yet. The new system was successfully tested from Hammersmith through to Euston Square and Paddington, with the work involving the complex Baker Street junction – the first such junction to be tested with the state-of-the-art Thales Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) system. 

Key Points

  • Trains using the new system were run between Hammersmith, Euston Square and Paddington this weekend
  • Work means huge capacity and reliability benefits move even closer
  • Testing at Baker Street junction is the culmination of an extensive period of planning and preparation

Work to transform the world’s oldest metro into one of the most modern is now well underway, and once complete it will improve reliability and boost capacity on 40 per cent of the Tube network. The section between Hammersmith and Edgware Road will be the first to go live on the new system this summer, and will provide better, more accurate real-time customer information and improve reliability. The testing this weekend was conducted from the brand-new control room at Hammersmith Service Control Centre, which will also begin operation this summer. 

The new system will be introduced progressively over 14 sections across the network, each improving reliability as it is introduced. Customers will benefit from quicker, more frequent services from 2021, with all four lines using the new system by 2023. The new, modern signalling will allow trains to run closer together, which will increase the frequency of train services across these lines with 32 trains per hour set to operate in the central London section. This will boost capacity by a third across all four lines – equivalent to space for an extra 36,500 customers during the busiest times of day. 

This weekend’s testing, which was the culmination of an extensive period of planning and preparation of over two years of planning work, allowed TfL to gather information to ensure the system is ready for safe and efficient passenger service later this year. The next stage of the testing work will involve the longer, eight-car S-stock trains used on the Metropolitan line for the first time, and further testing and validation will be conducted in the coming weeks and months. 

“It’s great news that we have been able to start testing on the next section of the network. It shows that our Four Lines Modernisation Project is now moving at pace and our customers will be able to see the benefits of this huge programme soon. This project will make an enormous difference to the journeys of tens of thousands of Londoners and will help us to deliver the Mayor’s vision for a greener, healthier city by making those journeys quicker and boosting capacity.” Mark Wild, Managing Director of London Underground 

“Once again, the fantastic effort of our teams is ensuring continued progress on this significant upgrade of these critical lines. We are now beginning to test in more challenging areas of the network, our advanced signalling system technology and expertise, our knowledge of the network and its complexities, are all coming together ensuring we deliver a world class railway for London.” Shaun Jones, Vice-President, Transport at Thales in the UK 

The junction at Baker Street is one of four complex junctions on the lines being modernised, with track for the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines all running through the station. Ensuring that the new signals can effectively operate in such a busy location is a crucial step for the project ahead of work at other junctions like Earl’s Court and Aldgate. 

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