Friday 28 February 2014

And we're off!  LUL have announced they are tendering for 250 new “air-cooled” and “walk-through” trains for the Piccadilly, Central, Bakerloo and Waterloo & City Lines that will be “capable of full automation” with the necessary upgrades to signalling at a total cost of £16.4bn.  Tendering will go through until next year with the contract awarded in 2016.

Driverless trains are on the way.

Following the link on the TfL’s webpage leads to a file that states that they don’t expect to have the Piccadilly running at the projected increased capacity until 2025, the Central until 2030, the W&C by 2032 and the Bakerloo by 2033.  Whether this means that the Lines will not be fully automated until those dates is unclear but one would assume that once the last manned trains were retired reaching the required capacity would follow soon after.  Regardless that will still leave the Jubilee, Northern, Victoria and four Sub Surface Lines running in ATO with a TOp in the cab which Mike Brown estimated as 70% of trains.

So if the Central Line will not be fully NoPO until 2030 then I will be 69, retired to the North Norfolk coast with a Staffy keeping me active, Unkle Bob will be the same age on a beach in Brazil, Boris will be 64 sitting on the back benches wondering where it all went wrong while Richard Tracey will be 87 and dribbling into his porridge.


  1. Wow. Just amazing. I cannot believe that TFL has any concern for the Bakerloo! Anyway, I wouldn't like to be stuck in that really long section between CHL and STP with no ToP or CSA or whatever they (could) call a member of staff on the thing. If a train were to break down there, how long would it take station staff to provide assistance? And would there actually be any staff to help? The last thing the tube needs is a distinct lack of staffing. Keep someone on the trains, or at least keep people in the stations. Preferably keep the drivers. Watching them snooze or read the metro as they pull into OXC is always amusing....

    1. I imagine they'd be called PSAs (Passenger Service Agents) like they are on the DLR (often referred to simply as "Train Captains," which is what they used to be called).

      I'd be more worried about the long station-to-station runs between LIS and STR to be honest.

      I do agree with you, but - to be honest - I think people who say having train captains is the worst of all possible options probably have a point. This is because it's quite difficult for them to contribute much to a busy tube train at rush hour - where would you put them, for a start? They certainly wouldn't be able to see very much when closing the doors without CCTV cameras and all the rest of it and they wouldn't be able to wander up and down the train checking tickets. the sheer amount of passengers isn't quite as big a problem on the DLR but to make train captains work on the tube, you have to start undermining some of the advantages you seek to gain by going fully-auto (mainly saving money on staff and saving space on the train by having all of the space in all the carriages usable by passengers). It would also be much less practical than it is even on the DLR for the train captain to make their way down the train and drive from the front where necessary. You also get almost none of the advantages of a good "old-fashioned" T/Op and cab - the immediate ability to knock it into Coded/PM/whatever where necessary, good overview of platform and train provided by CCTV, privacy and space away from the passengers, access to the controls and computers allowing minor problems and issues to be dealt with from the cab, having a person in charge, in a 'nerve centre' who can monitor the train and liaise with the control room, the expertise to get a train going if it has a really major problem, etc.

      I agree with you, though, I don't wanna be on a train without a member of staff in charge. this is true even for when we have small problems and signal failures and stuff, but so much more so if something goes really far south (HOP recently - the smoking train - the incident we had at HOP back in Nov 2012 when shoes got knocked off and a train was stranded) and, worst of all, and I hate even thinking about it, but a real disaster like 7/7. i want someone on the train, i really do. I myself would put them in a cab, though, and probably have them on the handle, but that's a battle that i'm not looking very likely to win :P On the other hand, though, we will have a change of leadership soon and given LUL's extremely patchy implementation history, you never know what we could end up with :P

  2. Make sure the PSA has nothing to do, this them builds the case to remove the grade altogether. After all, it worked for the ticket offices...