The Tube’s oldest train, and one of the country’s longest serving, bows out of the commuter run today (Wednesday 26th September), when the last of the old Metropolitan line trains takes passengers to and from work for the last time.
The old Metropolitan line trains started operating on the line in 1961. Now, after 50 years of service, the next generation of trains has taken over with the line being completely served by new walk through air-conditioned trains. A huge amount of work has been carried out to ensure that the signals, track and platforms, some of which date back over 100 years, were ready in time to accommodate the new trains which are longer and more powerful.
In total, 191 new trains are being introduced across the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, together representing some 40 per cent of the Tube network.
These improvements for passengers are part of London Underground’s vital programme to replace old track, signals and trains. It will further improve performance and deliver more reliable services for Londoners, with faster and more frequent journeys, fewer delays and, ultimately, provide 30 per cent more capacity across the network.
The programme has delivered major improvements for Tube passengers over the last few years, including:
• An upgraded Jubilee line – now with 33% more capacity, and a train every two minutes at peak times.
• A transformed King’s Cross St. Pancras station – now four times its original size, fully accessible and with two new ticket halls.
• Other major stations upgraded – including Farringdon, Green Park, Blackfriars and Heathrow (123). Major work is also underway at Victoria, Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road.
• A more accessible Tube – with 66 stations now having step-free access, plus platform humps installed at many stations.
• Hundreds of kilometres of brand new rails with proper drainage and new track beds preventing failures, ensuring a smoother ride and providing a more reliable service.
• An upgraded Victoria line – with new trains, track and signalling. The line is now twice as reliable as it was in 2007/08 and there are an extra two trains each hour in the peak, meaning a train every two minutes. From early 2013 there’ll be even more trains – up to 33 every hour.
Mike Brown, Managing Director, London Rail and Underground, said: “The old Metropolitan line trains have been great servants to the millions of people that have used the line over the years. However at over 50 years old, it is now time to bring in the new generation of trains that are walk through, air conditioned and more accessible.
“Carrying more passengers today than ever before we need to continue to meet the growing demand of an increasing population. Passenger service has already been improved through the upgrade of the Jubilee and Victoria lines with increased reliability and capacity and the Northern, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan upgrade works are well underway. We know there is still much to do to move forward and build for the future.”
The first of the new trains are now arriving on the Hammersmith & City line.