London Underground signaling, control contract awarded to Thales

Posted on August 5, 2015

Transport for London
Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL) has awarded a contract to global transportation systems provider Thales to modernize the signalling and train control system on the next four London Underground (LU) lines.

This next major phase of the Underground's modernization will bring faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys to millions of passengers who use the Circle, District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines.

The Circle, District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines together make up nearly 40% of the network and include the oldest part of the network built in 1863. As well as circling central London, the lines reach out to suburbs to the West, North West and East of the capital. Between them the four lines carry around 1.3 million passengers a day - more than many European countries carry on their entire rail networks.

These improvements will boost capacity by an average of a third on the four lines and is vital in order to support London's growing population, which is expected to increase from 8.6 million today to 10 million by 2030.

Work is expected to begin later this year and the main benefits will be delivered by 2022, when the frequency of trains running during peak periods will increase to 32 trains per hour in central London — a train every two minutes — with frequency increases at other times as well.

In advance of that, customers are already seeing improved services on the four lines as TfL completes the introduction of the new air conditioned trains on the entire network by 2016. Further benefits will include a train control system which will increase capacity further starting with the Circle line in 2021, with additional frequent services at peak times. During 2023 the final improvements will be delivered, with a further boost to peak and off-peak frequency on the Metropolitan line.

The value of the contract with Thales for the signalling and control work is $1.2 billion.

The overall budget for the four line modernization project, confirmed as $8.4 billion, includes investment in 191 new modern air-conditioned walk-through trains, built in the UK, and already introduced on the Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City and District lines.

The investment also includes further improvements to get the most out of the new trains, including new track, lengthened platforms and rebuilt train depots with advanced technology to ensure the highest levels of train reliability.

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