TfL announces beat the heat plan for summer 2013

04 July 2013
  • All Metropolitan line trains now air conditioned
  • Trains now being rolled out on the Hammersmith & City, and on the Circle line later this summer

Summer is finally here and, with the arrival of the hot weather, Transport for London (TfL) has set out the work it continues to carry out to cool the Tube and TfL's rail and bus services and keep temperatures on the transport network at a manageable level. 

New air-conditioned trains, which have been running on the Metropolitan line for the past couple of years, are now being introduced on the Hammersmith & City line, and later this summer on the Circle line. The two lines will be fully served by the new trains by the end of next year and, by 2016, an air-conditioned service of 191 trains will be in operation, covering 40 per cent of the Tube network.

Customers using two of London's busiest Tube stations, Green Park and Oxford Circus, will benefit from the station cooling systems that were installed last year, which have made a significant difference by reducing the temperature at platform level. Other work to improve ventilation shafts, restore out of service fan systems and portable fans will also be helping to keep passengers cool this summer.

TfL will be providing hot weather advice to passengers. Posters and announcements at stations will provide tips to passengers on how to stay comfortable, including:

  • Carry water with you
  • Don't board a train or bus if you feel unwell
  • If you feel unwell please get off at the next stop and seek help from our staff 
  • Avoid pulling the passenger alarm between stations, and get off of the train at the next stop as help can be more easily obtained on a platform

The big challenge remains to cool the deep level parts of the Tube, which are unique to London's Tube network and not replicated on any other metro system in the world. The tunnels only allow enough room for trains and, as a consequence, there is no space for air-conditioning. Working with the train industry, London Underground (LU) is looking to the future and what that holds for the next generation of trains, with the aim that they generate less heat and have more space so that a cooling solution could possibly be implemented.
Phil Hufton, LU's Chief Operating Officer, said: 'The new air-conditioned trains have proved a massive success on the Metropolitan line and now customers on the Hammersmith & City are starting to feel the benefits. Throughout the coming months further new air-conditioned trains will be introduced on the Circle line.

'But we know there is still a lot to do and cooling the other deeper lines of the Tube remains a considerable engineering challenge, but one which we are actively addressing. We are doing all we can to manage temperatures and, in the meantime, we ask customers to follow our tips for making travelling comfortable in hot weather.'
In addition to the work to manage temperatures on the Tube, a number of measures are helping to keep passengers cool on other parts of the transport network. Following successful trials of such systems, TfL London Buses has now made it compulsory for all new vehicles to be fitted with upper deck cooling systems as standard. More than half of London's 6,100 double deck buses have now had them fitted, and the majority of buses also have white roof panels which help to reflect the heat. New buses must have insulated roof and side panels which reflect heat along with tinted side glass. The London Overground network is now being served by a fleet of 57 air-conditioned trains.

Editor's notes:

  • New trains equipped with air cooling will be delivered for the sub-surface network (Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines). Now serving the Metropolitan line, and currently rolling out on the Hammersmith & City, followed by roll-out on the Circle and then the District. All 191 trains will be out on the network by 2016
  • Groundwater cooling - the trial started at Victoria station in summer 2006 and has been successful and has improved temperatures in the mid platform area. The groundwater trial provides an environmentally-friendly cooling solution for the Victoria line platforms at Victoria station and uses groundwater which is already pumped out of the station. Across the Tube network, LU pumps out 30 million litres of water each day
  • Ventilation shafts - Work to double the capacity of the fans at all the main ventilations shafts serving the Victoria line were completed in 2011, a total of 13
  • The Victoria line train fleet has been replaced which will enable LU to operate the environmentally-friendly regenerative braking system, which returns power to the rails while the train is braking. That will reduce the amount of heat that is generated and should therefore reduce the temperature in the tunnel
  • Coupled with the new trains ventilation system, which will circulate cool air from ground level in the tunnel and distribute it into the carriage at head height, this will mean more comfortable journeys for customers during the hot summer months
  • Out of service fans - LU is working to re-condition and upgrade the existing station ventilation fan network. Eighty-three ventilation fans have now been restored, more than doubling the capacity of the fan network
  • Portable fans - In 2008, fans were installed within tickets and concourse areas, to increase air circulation at a number of stations
  • Mechanical chiller units - A mechanical chiller which provides cooling to customers and staff in the ticket hall area have now been installed at Oxford Circus and Euston stations
  • Station cooling -works at two of London's busiest Tube stations, Green Park and Oxford Circus, were completed last year with the installation of air cooling units that reduces temperatures at platform level. At Green Park, the air cooling units use cool water extracted via boreholes from the aquifer deep below Green Park
  • At Oxford Circus station, where there were already air cooling units in the ticket hall, the scheme was expanded to include all platforms areas (Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines). The new platform cooling units that have been installed and use cool water provided by chiller units that have been installed on top of a building owned by Transport for London, which is adjacent to the station
  • Impulse fans - LU has installed high speed ceiling mounted impulse fans on Bakerloo line platforms at Marylebone and Lambeth North stations
  • London Buses upper deck air cooling systems - following successful trials of such systems, London Buses has now made it compulsory for all new vehicles to be fitted with upper deck cooling systems as standard
  • Heat reflection - all new buses and buses going for repainting now have to have white-painted roof panels which reflect the heat.  New buses must have insulated roof and side panels which reflect heat along with tinted side glass
  • Thermostatically controlled heating system - most buses have heating systems which are automatically controlled by sensors in the passenger area, rather than by the driver or the garage engineers

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