Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The New Tube for Glasgow

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport has announced upgrades to the Glasgow Subway system which includes new rolling stock of driverless trains. This news is worth mentioning, especially for my readers from London.

New Subway trains unveiled
Contract awarded to Stadler Bussnang AG / Ansaldo STS Consortium.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has today (Friday 4 March) taken a significant step in the Subway Modernisation Programme approving the award of contracts to Stadler Bussnang AG / Ansaldo STS Consortium for the supply of new trains, signalling and equipment, valued at £200 million.

The announcement was made following a meeting of the SPT Partnership this morning which approved the recommendation that the consortium offered the best value and solution option to deliver the contract.

SPT Chair Jonathan Finlay said:
“The SPT Partnership Board is delighted at this award of contract which continues the great work that our staff has been engaged in over the last few years modernising our Subway Stations and infrastructure.

“The new Rolling stock will provide the travelling public with a much improved journey experience and the system will be more flexible in terms of frequency and availability.”

SPT Chief Executive Gordon Maclennan said:
“This contract is a key part of our plan to modernise the Subway for generations to come. We are all aware of the proud rail history of the Subway as the third oldest in the world and our plans for modernisation will ensure that the Subway continues to be an essential component in the transport network of the future.”

The dimensions of the Glasgow Subway are unique, and therefore the new trains will be the same length and size as existing rolling stock but will be a four-car set, as opposed to the current three-car set, with open gangways to maximise the space available and allow for wheelchair access with wheelchair users able to access the system at St Enoch in the City Centre and Govan at the new transport interchange which is currently under construction.

The Subway’s signalling equipment, control systems and control centre will all be replaced to accommodate the new Subway trains and enable improved availability and reliability.

The system will include new platform screen doors, which will be ‘half height’ to preserve as much space and openness within the stations as possible while still maintaining passenger safety and security.

Peter Jenelten, Executive Vice President Marketing & Sales for Stadler said:
“This project is a major milestone for Stadler. It is the first time that Stadler’s rolling stock will be part of a driverless underground system.“

Derek Mackay, Minister for Transport & Islands said:
“I welcome the achievement of this important milestone in the project being taken forward by SPT to modernise the Glasgow Subway, towards the costs of which the Scottish Government will be providing up to £246 million, in line with the commitments we made in 2012. New rolling stock and signalling will help ensure that this historic metro system continues to serve passengers for many years to come.”

Here are some of photos of the new train which I found on their modernisation project page.

What hasn't been mentioned in their press release is that on their modernisation page they say:

The 17 new trains will be the same length and size as the existing rolling stock, due to the unique dimensions of the Subway, but will be a four-car set, as opposed to the current three-set.

Inside the trains will have a radically different look and feel with more open space between carriages.  Passengers will also have a new forward view through a new wide-screen window at the front of the train.

For the first time in its history, the Subway will now be equipped with wheel chair spaces with wheelchair users able to access the system at St Enoch in the City Centre and at Govan at the new transport interchange which is currently under construction.

Once the new full system is in place – trains, signalling, operational control centre, platform screen doors – and it has been fully tested, the Subway will move from its current partially automatic trains to Unattended Train Operations (UTO).

You should start to see the new trains in the system from 2020.

Why did I call it ‘The New Tube for Glasgow’? because the project is similar to what Transport for London are doing which is upgrading the selected deep level lines with new driverless trains which feature walk-through gangways like the S Stock train features.

I’m going to compare it with the ‘New Tube for London’ project as I forgot to mention that on the 18th January 2016 TFL issued a press release on London Underground regarding issuing an Invitation To Tender (ITT) to find a manufacture to design and build the New Tube for London.


London Underground (LU) took a significant step today in its search for a manufacturer to design and build the New Tube for London by issuing an Invitation to Tender (ITT).

Five pre-qualified manufacturers - Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi and Siemens - can now proceed to the next stage of the formal procurement process with LU over the design and build of the next generation of Underground trains, which will come into service from the early 2020s.

The New Tube will mean faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys for customers travelling on the deep-level lines - the Piccadilly, Waterloo & City, Bakerloo and Central lines. It will also mean greater capacity and more comfortable journeys, and the first air-cooled trains on the deep-level sections of the Tube. In addition, the new trains will feature improved accessibility and safety features including walk-through carriages and wider doors.

Nick Brown, Managing Director of London Underground, said: `Today's invitation to train manufacturers to submit bids for the design and build of the New Tube is a significant step forward. Londoners have already seen huge improvements to the Tube network, but to meet the needs of our rapidly growing population we must continue to invest in and improve our services. More people are using the Underground than at any point in its 153-year history. The New Tube for London will transform the journeys of millions of customers, providing trains fit for a world city for the next five decades.'

The building of the 250 new trains, which will feature attractive internal styling that echoes the Underground's heritage, will also help to support new jobs and growth elsewhere in the UK. They will be designed and built to be 'future-proofed', which will include the capability for fully automatic operation, given that the New Tube will serve London for around 50 years.

Along with modernised signal systems operating alongside them, the trains will boost capacity on all four deep-level lines:
·         The Piccadilly line by 60% (the equivalent of up to 21,000 customers per hour)
·         The Waterloo & City line by 35% (the equivalent of up to 7,000 customers per hour)
·         The Bakerloo line by 25% (the equivalent of up to 9,000 customers per hour)
·         The Central line by 25% (the equivalent of up to 12,000 customers per hour)
·         Bidding parties will need to return their proposals to LU in summer 2016 with the contract to build the new trains awarded in autumn 2017.

LU placed a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in February 2014 seeking expressions of interest to build the new trains. This enabled LU to put together a shortlist of five bidders which have now been issued with the ITT.

The OJEU notice quoted a range of between £1bn and £2.5bn for 250 new trains.

The New Tube for London programme will see approximately:
·         100 trains for the Piccadilly line
·         10 trains for the Waterloo & City line
·         40 trains for the Bakerloo line
·         100 trains for the Central line

Here are couple of images of the New Tube for London to compare with the new Glasgow subway trains. Images are taken from the New Tube for London project page.

I have also written a couple of articles in relation to the New Tube for London project:

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