by Phil Marsh

Steam-age tube trains complete their journey after over 40 years of service

Published: 10th June 2014

Underground carries record numbers on more and more trains last year

The popular early 1970s designed and built London Underground ‘C’ Stock fleet as it is known, has completed its last public service and has been replaced by modern air-conditioned walk-through trains. The milestone was reached on June 3 when the last vintage train operated over the Edgware Road to Wimbledon District line branch. These trains were designed while steam was still running on the Underground network!

The trains will now be scrapped with the exception of a couple of examples retained for special services. There will be a formal final train formed of the C-stock train on Sunday 29th June. This is a fully ticketed event with money being raised for The Railway Children charity.

The fleet of C-stock trains were used on the sub-surface widened Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines for over 40 years but had become life-expired and increasingly unreliable and costly to maintain as time has gone on London Underground said.

They have been gradually replaced over the last four years by new modern walk through air-conditioned trains bringing increased capacity and more pleasant and reliable journeys to millions of passengers.

There is no more “Which carriage shall I get into?” decision to make as it is possible to walk through the new trains which are more accessible, spacious and have better audio and visual information systems, CCTV and an energy efficient braking system.

Record passenger numbers carried

The London Underground has carried a record number of passengers with over 1.265 billion journeys made in the last year. The tube network is being modernised in often difficult conditions and the completion of the Victoria and Jubilee lines upgrades has provided increased reliability and capacity. The Northern line modernisation is scheduled for completion later this year but in the London Underground’s own words, there is much more to be done. This is required to be able to cope with ever growing demand driven by the population growth

They said;

Phil Hufton, LU’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “These old trains have been great servants to the millions of people who have used the branch over the years. But after more than 40 years in service, it is now time for the next generation of trains that are walk through, air conditioned and more accessible to transport commuters for the next 40 years.

191 new trains

There are a 191 new trains being operated on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, which combined account for 40% of the Tube network. The District line was the last of these lines to receive the new trains and the full fleet will be in place in 2016.

This fleet will operate with a new signalling system which will boost capacity and make journeys faster and even more reliable. London Underground is also carrying out modernisation work at its major stations with public areas of stations such as ticket halls, ticket gates and platforms turning into what they call personalised customer service centres. This has been the cause of union strikes in recent months.

The Sub Surface Routes carry a third of the Underground’s passengers and totals 300km of track and the modernisation plan will deliver a capacity increase of 65 per cent on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines; 24 per cent on the District line; and 27 per cent on the Metropolitan line.

Transport for London announce record passenger levels on the Underground

An extra 36 million tube journeys were logged in the last financial year bringing the increase in passenger numbers to 33% in the last ten years. This has been made possible by operating more trains with new timetables on the Piccadilly and Jubilee lines.

Transport for London statistics show that the Underground carried 1.265billion passengers in 2013-14 compared with 1.229bn the previous year representing a 3% growth. Tube trains also ran an extra 600,000kms in the reporting period.

Passenger numbers have been boosted by on the Piccadilly line by weekend demand from shoppers, tourists and regular travellers and Saturday afternoon services carry almost as many passengers as in the peak weekday periods. Trains now operate between 21 and 24 trains every hour in each direction between midday and 17:00hrs while evening weekday services have also been increased with an extra three trains an hour until 11pm.

The Jubilee line is now operating at capacity with 30 trains an hours at peak times and away from the busy times, more trains seven days a week will run between Wembley Park through the West End to Canary Wharf and Stratford.

They said:

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 'In the face of phenomenal customer demand our iconic Tube network has successfully transported a staggering number of people on more services than ever before. Thanks to vital investment and a programme of modernisation we’ve seen delays cut and more frequent and reliable trains that enable Londoners to get to where they want to go more quickly.

Mike Brown MVO, Managing Director of London Underground, said: 'It is amazing that the Underground is carrying a third more customers now than it did only ten years ago, and customer demand shows no signs of letting up. We know that London will see a rise in its population of more than a million people by 2031 – that’s the equivalent to a city the size of Birmingham.

“The service increases we’ve introduced on the Jubilee and Piccadilly lines are just the latest step in our plans to deliver a modern Tube for London, with air-conditioned trains now operating on four lines, new signalling allowing us to run more trains on the Jubilee and Victoria lines and on the Northern line later this year, and bigger and more accessible stations at major interchanges.

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