Transport for London reveals “greenest ever” Piccadilly line trains

Designed by Siemens Mobility, the Inspiro boasts in-train air conditioning and will consume 20% less energy than the existing fleet from the 1970s.

Transport for London (TfL) and railway company Siemens Mobility have unveiled the new Piccadilly line train designs, which will come into operation from 2025.

Approximately five million people use the Tube every day across eleven service lines and 700,000 of these passengers use the Piccadilly line trains.

new piccadilly line trains
Courtesy of TfL

Siemens Mobility has been working on the project since November 2018 and says that comfort and sustainability were guiding principles. The new fleet will comprise 94 nine-car trains.

The current trains have become “increasingly unreliable and expensive to maintain”, TfL says. It adds that the existing trains will be 50 years old by the time they are replaced.

More space and cooler journeys

new piccadilly line trains
Courtesy of TfL

Each Inspiro train will have open, walk-through carriages which aim to create a “light and airy look” for passengers, Siemens says, as well as allowing more space to move about while travelling.

Thanks to an articulated design, the new trains require fewer bogies (the structure that contain the wheels, motors and suspension) per train which maximises interior space and improves the comfort of the ride, Siemens adds. It predicts that capacity will be increased by 10%.

Onboard, underfloor HVAC air conditioning units will aim to create a more comfortable travelling experience, Siemens says. The line runs through many central London hotspots, such as Hyde Park, which become especially busy during the summer months.

Visuals reveal a black and blue moquette, matching the Piccadilly’s colour on the Tube map. There are multiple screens in all carriages to “provide dynamic travel information plus advertisement and video displays”, the company adds. These provide passengers with information about the upcoming stop, for example.

Sustainability and accessibility on the new trains

new piccadilly line trains
Courtesy of TfL

Sustainability has also been a focus for the new designs, Siemens adds. It says that overall energy consumption will be reduced by 20% compared to the current fleet.

Relevant features include lighter-weight construction and regenerative braking. Another technological advancement are the “cutting-edge traction systems” which use low-loss magnet motors and auxiliary electric systems, according to Siemens.

Larger door openings have been added for accessibility on and off the trains. Inside, spacious priority seating as well as multiple multi-function areas aim to “accommodate every passenger need”, Siemens adds.

The trains’ top speed will be 100km per hour, which will be instrumental in helping London Underground achieve its goal of running 27 trains per hour by 2027, according to Siemens. That accounts to a train every 135 seconds at the busiest times.

“Aligned with London Underground’s iconic global image”

The Inspiro has been designed with heritage in mind, the company adds, and is “aligned with London Underground’s iconic global image”.

Siemens Mobility CEO William Wilson says: “The state-of-the-art trains will transform the Piccadilly line passenger experience. They are lighter, more environmentally-friendly and future-proofed for a long life.”

Throughout the design process, regular feedback was provided from TfL’s Independent Disability Advisory Group and the TfL Accessibility Forum.

The designs have been tested at the Siemens Test Centre in Wildenrath, Germany. Half of the new fleet will be built in Goole, East Yorkshire, a process that will employ up to 700 people in engineering and manufacturing.

Yorkshire-based LPA Lighting is supplying the train lighting, while Midlands-based Baker Bellfield will provide cab partition walls.

“Greenest ever” train on the London Underground

London Underground managing director Andy Lord says that the Inspiro is the “greenest train we’ve ever run on the network”.

London mayor Sadiq Kahn adds that the new trains will “be a great step forward for our city, improving frequency, reliability and capacity”.

“The continued modernisation of the Tube – which has seen a transformation over the last two decades – is a key part of my Transport Strategy to make London a greener, more affordable, more accessible place,” he adds.

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