Futuristic London Underground trains won’t require a driver

13 Oct 2014

A new London Underground train design is to deliver faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys with the first walk-through and air-cooled trains on the city's Tube lines. Images via Transport for London

Pulling into the Piccadilly Station having just completed a journey from your favourite science-fiction movie, Transport for London (TFL) has unveiled its futuristic new underground trains.

Not only does the fleet of 250 railway vehicles look sleek and smart, but they come with a host of cutting-edge features, including the ability to operate without a driver.

Not due to be rolled out until the mid-2020s, the trains will initially be run by a human operator, but authorities have revealed they will consider implementing full automation “following extensive engagement with our customers, stakeholders, staff and trade unions”.

In addition, the new design will allow passengers to walk the length of the train, eliminating the potentially hazardous double doors that separate current cars, and freeing up more space for passengers. Coupled with increased speeds and modern signalling systems, TFL said some lines could take on as many as 60pc more customers after the switch. Other improvements include air-cooled carriages and improved accessibility with step-free access at platform level. 

London plans for the trains to be in operation for at least 40 years. They will initially run on the city’s high-profile Piccadilly, Central, Bakerloo and Waterloo & City lines.

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Dean Van Nguyen was a contributor to Silicon Republic