Photos: London's sleek new Tube trains

Photos: London's sleek new Tube trains

  • London's new Tube trains to feature WiFi and 'air cooling'
  • Wider doors and 'walk-through' design make life easier for passengers
  • First of 250 new carriages to run from 2022

Like most travellers to London we love using the Tube – London's underground train network – to zip around the city. In fact, travellers tend to love the London underground more than the locals.

But Londoners could change their tune, or at least find less to grumble about, with the sleek new Tube trains revealed today.

Designed by London firm Priestmangoode – the canny chaps behind many of the best airline seats and cabins – the 250 carriages are estimated to cost around £2 billion (that's a whopping A$3.7 billion – or one-third of the entire Sydney-Canberra high-speed rail line proposed by Canberra Airport).

But that massive cash splash will deliver trains which Transport for London says will run faster, keep travellers cooler (thanks to 'air cooling', which has previously been unavailable on deep-level lines) and also keep them connected via WiFi hotspots dotted throughout the carriages.

On the inside, LCD screens will serve up a mix of commuter information and advertising.

New signalling systems will also be rolled out to help boost Tube capacity by between 25% and 60%, depending on the Underground line in use.

Sadly, everybody's in for a good wait before boarding the first of the new Tube trains. They're not slated to start running until 2022, and then only at first on the popular Piccadilly line, with the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City lines to follow.

The trains are also designed for automated driver-less operation, and while TfL promises that "when the new trains first enter service they will have an operator on board", London Mayor Boris Johnson has reportedly and not surprisingly suggested that drivers will be phased out.

Here's a video clip showing more of the carriages.

If you're in London through to November 16, swing by the Northern ticket hall of King’s Cross St Pancras Underground station to see the 'New Tube for London' exhibition.

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David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • Hugo


    10 Oct, 2014 05:50 pm

    Good luck with the driverless operation, Boris! In San Francisco the BART is designed to be driverless, but the unions insisted on having some guy sit up the front getting paid $100K anyway. His only actual power is to open and shut the doors, otherwise the train runs itself.

    (They also insisted on putting removable seat covers on every seat, just to give them something else to do. Union rules specify that each seat cover must be removed by two people. If you think that having removable and washable seat covers prevents the seats from being absolutely filthy... you'd be wrong.)

    As for the tube itself, the experience of sitting for an hour as you slowly wind your way towards Cockfosters (heh) whilst being bombarded by animated advertisements sounds unpleasant, but I guess it's the way the world is going. Perhaps one day someone will invent an AdBlock for the real world which is incorporated into your glasses and prevents your attention from being stolen by advertising.

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  • TheRealBabushka


    10 Oct, 2014 08:07 pm

    Yeah the RMT union is going to have a fit!

    Don't worry Hugo, good ol' Maggie's eroded their base. Unfortunately we cannot say the same for this country, where the opposite side is so unpleasant they inadvertently give succour to the movement.

    The advertisement on trains reminds me of Bangkok's BTS, which wasn't too bad or perhaps I was just enthralled by the novelty and amused at how much Thai actors on telly try so hard to look as fair and as un-Thai as they possibly can.

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  • Rufus1


    10 Oct, 2014 06:27 pm

    But the question on everyone's mind...  Will you still be blowing black snot out of your nose for days after taking a tube journey on them?

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  • Jason Bird


    10 Oct, 2014 08:42 pm

    What's more concerning is that after a short while living in London, the black snot stops!!

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  • Flying Fish


    14 Oct, 2014 09:04 pm

    So true! After the first year living in London the black snot disappears! Where does it go?

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  • eminere


    10 Oct, 2014 06:49 pm

    How gorgeously sleek.  Now if only there was a way to render them pristine and graffiti-free forever...

    OT but are there are any other avgeeks seeing a private F suite in the picture of the open doors?

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  • Ben84


    10 Oct, 2014 07:52 pm

    Hate using public transport at home, but always love using the London Underground (and rapid transit systems around the world). Maybe it's the novelty factor, or maybe it's the fact that other cities around the world have actually invested in their infrastructure - making it worthwhile travelling by train or tram. 

    Hopefully these new trains will have free WIFI for travellers, especially on the Piccadilly Line to the airport. It would also be good to have up-to-date televised information about flights and other airport information on board the trains as well. Perhaps a little fanciful (and ignorant of vamdals), check in kiosks for Heathrow flights (and connecting train journeys in London) could be located on the trains as well - allowing travellers the opportunity to organise themselves en route. 

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  • TheRealBabushka


    11 Oct, 2014 09:29 am

    Public transport works when there is a critical mass. In Europe where people are huddled together in a smaller continent public transport is an obvious solution. So too in large cities like London, Paris, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong.

    Until people in Australia choose to live more sustainably and closer together in flats and apartment blocks instead of being sprawled out in a suburb with a garden and garage, the cost of running public transport will never be economically viable and will therefore always require massive government subsidies. 

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  • watson374


    11 Oct, 2014 12:10 pm

    Not just that, people at home demand suburban McMansions with garages and gardens and more rooms than they could ever use, then demand a 24/7 train service out the front door.

    I think I'll stay in the inner suburbs.

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  • pab2025


    11 Oct, 2014 01:10 am

    I was under the impression that the Tube could not actually be airconditioned due to no venting of exhaust? Am I wrong, or is there a way these new trains will combat the problem?

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  • madge


    11 Oct, 2014 09:06 am

    I though the lack of air conditioning was due to the small tunnels on the deep level tubes. There was no room for the a/c units to be placed on top of the carriage. It looks like they solved the problem by placing the units in the floor.

    Nice to see that Piccadilly line will also get platform screen doors.

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  • David Flynn


    11 Oct, 2014 02:53 pm

    There's already 'air cooling' on some Tube lines which are not deep-level, the new trains bring this to the deep-level lines. I've amended the article to specify this as 'air cooling' rather than 'air conditioning'. The outlets are in the floor, under selected seats, as seen in those close-up pic:

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  • watson374


    12 Oct, 2014 01:39 am

    They've had to come up with an 'air cooling' method because up until very recently nobody could come up with a method of cooling the deep-level trains that didn't take up half the car and didn't dump massive amounts of heat into the century-old cast-iron tunnels.

    Hopefully it works, because I've actually been following these developments for nearly a decade, and until the new subsurface trains got their cooling, nothing ever got done.

    Mind you, this Boristube sounds a lot like the Space Train concept from years back when they were planning replacements for the Victoria Line...

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  • Nathan Jordan


    11 Oct, 2014 03:04 pm

    The seating design prevents apes from putting their feet on seats too (short of the 'up-against-the-tummy offenders)! About time Melbourne's trams and trains were changed to seating against the windows too, in order to put a stop to those who indulge in this filthy habit.

    On a banal note, check out the animated shadow guy in the video at 0:46 who cannot decide whether he wants to stand or sit - he looks like he's copping a squat!

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  • eminere


    11 Oct, 2014 09:16 pm

    It's a disgusting habit indeed.

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  • watson374


    12 Oct, 2014 01:43 am

    That was one of the great things about the fixed seating on Sydney's Tangara trains. Most rows are front-to-back, not front-to-front, so there's very little feet-on-seats action.

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  • undertheradar


    13 Oct, 2014 12:47 pm

    that comment is offending apes..apes are way more intelligent than these human 'unsocialized' morons

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18 Jul, 2019 01:12 pm


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