The new trains for the Piccadilly line are undergoing extensive testing by Siemens Mobility in Europe, both on the test track and in the climate chamber.
The first newly built state-of-the-art test train for Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Piccadilly line is at the Test and Validation Centre in Wegberg-Wildenrath, Germany, where it is being put through its paces on the test track during dynamic testing to demonstrate acceleration and braking functionality along with noise and vibration trials. Intensive testing is taking place in the build up to the first train arriving in London next summer for further testing and integration before the new trains start entering service in London in 2025.
Meanwhile, a three-car formation of the Piccadilly line carriages has been put through testing in a special climate chamber to ensure the trains will be able to endure extreme weather conditions. Tests focused on the effects of extreme ambient temperatures from -15°C to 40°C, solar load of 600W/m2, ice and high wind speeds of up to 100km/h to check the train can still operate in extreme weather conditions. Monitors were used to understand what passengers would experience, measuring humidity and temperatures in the carriages.
The Piccadilly line trains are based on Siemens Mobility’s Inspiro family of metro trains and offer passengers an improved customer experience with walk-through, air-conditioned carriages and improved accessibility. The new metro trains will increase capacity by around 10 per cent and are also lighter than existing designs which will mean the trains are more energy efficient as well as providing a smoother ride for passengers. All trains will be fitted with CCTV in the carriages.
Siemens Mobility is building 94 Piccadilly line trains for TfL, with around half set to be assembled from the new train manufacturing facility in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire. Work from the UK-based site will commence next year. Up to £200m is being invested in developing the rail village, which will create up to 700 skilled jobs, as well as up to 1,700 in the supply chain and 250 during construction. Some of the parts for the new trains will also come from local suppliers in Yorkshire, including LPA Lighting Systems who will provide the LED interior lighting.
Sambit Banerjee, Joint CEO for Siemens Mobility UKI, said: “It is quite something to see the first of the new state-of-the-art Piccadilly line trains being tested. Although we are still in the early stage of testing, we are learning a lot about this test train and its future performance. As well as testing on the track, we have also been using our climate chamber to ensure the trains can operate safely in extreme weather conditions. These vital tests mark an important milestone for the project.”
Stuart Harvey, TfL’s Chief Capital Officer, said: “Progress on bringing a new fleet of state-of-the-art Tube trains into service in 2025 on the Piccadilly line continues apace with rigorous testing now underway on all aspects of the train’s functionality and performance. This will ensure that the new fleet is able to meet the demands of operating on London’s busy Piccadilly line, which accounts for more than 10 per cent of London Underground’s ridership and serves Heathrow Airport, the West End and St Pancras International.
“The most important thing now is that we are making the case to Government for the vital long-term capital investment we need to continue with improvements like this, which support jobs and economic growth. We want to follow the introduction of these new trains on the Piccadilly line by doing the same on the Bakerloo line, replacing the 51-year-old trains that it currently operates, and by continuing to modernise our fleets and signalling to make sure they remain safe and reliable. But, such vital improvements will not be possible without continued capital investment from the Government from April 2024."
The Piccadilly line trains are due to start entering passenger service in London from 2025, replacing the existing fleet dating from the 1970s. Subject to TfL funding Siemens Mobility would also build new trains for the Bakerloo line out of the train manufacturing facility in Goole.