4LM – Four Lines Modernisation
Transport for London (TfL), the organisation responsible for transport in the UK capital, is investing £5.4 billion to transform the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines to boost reliability, increase capacity and provide travellers with faster and more comfortable journeys.
In 1863, an underground railway between Paddington and Farringdon was opened. Dubbed the ‘Metropolitan Line,’ this revolutionary service allowed steam trains to haul nearly 40,000 passengers in gas-lit wooden carriages, between eight stations. Today, the London Underground encompasses 402 kilometres of track, serving 270 stations and 11 lines. In 1982, it carried 498 million passengers and in 2016/17, that figure was 1.38 billion. As demand is still rising, the need for extra capacity has never been more urgent.
The Four Lines Modernisation project is the biggest project of its kind. Unique features of the project include five complex rail junctions, 113 stations and 192 trains, interfacing the system with four depots, six sidings (two of them major) and the integration and presentation of existing CCTV and PA Systems with a central control centre.
Work on the transformation is being undertaken by Thales, the French transport and defence group, and VolkerRail.
As the four lines on the modernisation programme share a lot of track and infrastructure, they are being modernised under a single, combined and integrated project. The four lines are among some of the oldest sections of the Underground network, with parts dating back to 1863. Together they make up 40% of the Tube network, with around a million passenger journeys each day.
To start, a fleet of 192 modern, air-conditioned, walk-through S-stock trains are now in operation across the Circle, Hammersmith & City, District and Metropolitan lines. These trains are longer and more spacious than the old trains they replaced with bigger doors creating extra space for more people to get on and off at stations, which speeds up journeys. The new trains also include improved audio and visual information, dedicated wheelchair spaces and colour contrasting interiors.
Work to install a new signalling and control system began in summer 2016 and is nearly ready for implementation following a successful trial in May 2018. The successful trial means customers can begin to benefit from the new signalling on the first section of the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines later this summer.
The new signalling system allows trains to be run closer together, meaning more frequent services and shorter waiting times, allowing more people to be carried. This new technology will enable TfL to reduce delays and improve reliability.
This new system will also allow the trains to be driven automatically, with a train operator in the cab to open and close the doors. The train operator will be responsible for managing customer information and safety.
The new, state-of-the-art, control centre for all four lines at Hammersmith has also been completed and is now operational. The centre brings together operations and asset teams under one roof in order to ensure a smoother and more integrated service and more accurate, up-to-date customer information.
For more information visit: www.tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/improvements-and-projects/four-lines-modernisation.