Long-term plan to end District Line's Ealing Broadway route
The decision appears to have been made by Transport for London (TfL) to press ahead with a major restructuring of local underground services, which is set to mean a better Wimbledon tube service.
The changes would see the District line service to Ealing Broadway ended and services switched to the Piccadilly line. The rolling stock would transfer to the Richmond and Wimbledon branches of the District line allowing an increase in regularity for these services.
TfL have made no official announcement about the plan and have yet to respond to our request for comment but the intention is revealed in an internal report which is stating the case for the purchase of new rolling stock for the ‘Deep Tube’ which includes the Piccadilly line.
The realignment, which could take up to 2029 before its completed, will allow for increased capacity on the Wimbledon and Richmond District lines of at least 25% and as much as 50%.
TfL's internal report is due to be considered by a procurement committee later this month. A proposal is being made for the design, manufacture and purchase of 94 new trains, along with the necessary new infrastructure and enabling works to run them. Current Piccadilly line trains have in some cases been in service for over 40 years and their renewal has been delayed by the collapse of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The existing Piccadilly line ‘73’ Tube Stock trains were introduced from 1975 in conjunction with the extension of services from Hounslow West to Heathrow Airport by 1977. These trains are now one of the oldest train fleets in passenger service in the UK. With a design life of 40 years, the fleet was originally scheduled for replacement by 2014. A programme of life-extension and repair works was carried out between 1996 and 2001 to enable these trains to continue to operate until replacement however an increasing number of age-related issues have been occurring on these trains and these are anticipated to rise further.
TfL Graphic showing intended increase in frequency on 'Deep Tube' lines
The new Piccadilly line rolling stock would be scheduled for delivery in August 2023 which would mean that the trains are likely to enter service by early 2024. The new trains would enable frequencies on the Piccadilly line to increase to 27 tph by 2026 when they are all delivered with a longer term target of reaching 36 tph as is being achieved currently on the Victoria line with modern signalling and rolling stock.
Each new train will be slightly longer and have more interior space than today. They will also feature fully open, walk through, gangways as now in service on the District line. A graphic (see above) in the TfL report suggests that the project would be completed by 2027/8 with a two thirds increase in capacity on the Piccadilly line. A second stage of the project will seek to purchase an additional seven trains in 2029 to take advantage of upgraded signalling.
May 18, 2018