Those Futuristic Piccadilly Line Tube Trains: An Update

Calls to all stations from Goole to Cockfosters. Image: TfL

In 2018, TfL teased us with CGI mockups of a futuristic-looking subway train dubbed the ‘New Tube for London’. Four years later, where exactly did we end up with them?

Remind me of the ‘New Tube for London’?

The ‘New Tube for London’ (NTFL) is the name for the ‘Inspiro London’ stock, designed by Siemens Mobility Ltd. 94 trains have been commissioned for use on the Piccadilly line, currently still using 1973 tube stock. (You can only give these things a fresh coat of paint so many times.)

a cgi mock-up of the interior of the new trains, with new moquette
Oh HELLO new moquette design. Image: TfL

So what is so special about these new metro trains?

Let’s list these:

  • 10% more capacity than current Piccadilly stock
  • Better accessibility, for example wider doors and walk-through cars
  • Air conditioning and LED lighting throughout
  • Lower energy consumption and various other eco-friendly details
  • Did we mention they all look nice and futuristic and all that?

And any news about the moquette?

Yes! New models of the train indicated a brand new design of the moquette. And then Geoff Marshall went to see it in person (see video above). The moquette is similar to Bartender in color and concept… BUT has several London landmarks including – and this is beautiful – Southgate station in the shape of a flying saucer of the Piccadilly Line. We then asked TfL about the moquette and it turned out that ALL the landmarks on the pattern refer to the works of the great Charles Holden (we can also see some typical Holden style windows). The moquette is of course called ‘Holden’.

So these new trains are only for the Piccadilly line?

The Mayor of London and TfL have signed an agreement with Siemens to build 94 trains for the Piccadilly Line. BUT assuming everything goes according to plan, they want NTFL stock on other deep lines: Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City.

A CGI mock-up of the new stock entering a station
They are on their way – a little behind schedule. Image: TfL

Where are these trains built?

50% of the first 94 trains will be built at a factory in Goole, Yorkshire. Well, they will be when Siemens finishes building the plant. That should be in 2023. At the moment, only a model of one of the carriages and a cabin of one of the trains can be seen in Goole (see main image above). And you need a press pass to see them.

Right. So they haven’t started building the trains yet?

They have – the other 50% of the new trains are currently being built at another Siemens factory in Vienna.

Can’t I see a mock-up of these trains anywhere closer to home?

Now that you mention it, there is – at the Design Museum in Kensington:

Mock-up booth for the new tube design, in the Design Museum
Image: Londonist

So are the new Piccadilly Line trains actually still on track?

TfL initially said that the NTFL shares would be rolled out on the London transport network from 2024. That date has now been moved to 2025. So there is a slight delay. And honestly, would it be a TfL project without one?

But we can look forward to seeing these trains everywhere soon after, right?

Depends on the money situation. The first 94 trains will cost £1.5 billion, and TfL isn’t really rolling in right now. Sadiq Khan has made it clear that TfL needs better funding from the government to roll out more of these metros across the network. He says, “In a controlled decline scenario, the date for new trains for the Bakerloo and Central line would be moved to late 2030/early 2040.” It seems the Mayor/TfL is going through a phase where they are teasing Londoners about what is the future of transport? could be look like, and then go on to say, “But only if the Tories give us more money.” As they did with the recent electric bus redesign.

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