Major boost for Central line commuters as fleet of trains to be upgraded with new motors

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One of London’s busiest Tube lines is set for a major boost after transport bosses revealed plans to upgrade its fleet of trains.

New motors and traction control equipment will be installed on all Central Line trains with work starting in the coming weeks.

London Underground said this would mean fewer trains will need to be repaired; making services more reliable and boosting capacity.

It has awarded a £112.1 million contract to rail technology firm Bombardier to carry out the work and provide on-going maintenance of the trains. 

Mark Wild, managing director of London Underground, said: “The Central line is one of the busiest and most important lines on the London Underground network. 

 New motors and traction control equipment will be installed on all Central Line trains (Getty Images)

“We are making a number of improvements to reduce delays and make the line more reliable for our customers. Installing new motors is one of the most important parts of this work, and will mean we can deliver a more reliable service to our customers, which will in turn boost capacity.”

The Central line – the longest London Underground line which runs from Epping to Ealing Broadway and West Ruislip, is used by more than 800,000 people a day.

London Underground’s contract with Bombardier commenced on Tuesday and will run until 2024.

“Direct current” (DC) traction motors on the 85 eight-car Central Line trains will be replaced with Bombardier Mitrac “alternating current” (AC) motors in a bid to reduce energy consumption and improve reliability.

The Central Line ’92 Tube stock trains are the last trains on the London Underground to use DC, the oldest type of traction motors. AC motors are simpler and much more reliable.

Traction motors are electric motors used for the propulsion – or driving forwards – of a vehicle.

Richard Hunter, the rail technology firm’s UK managing director, said: “Bombardier has a long history of working with London Underground, and we continue to provide cutting edge technology across the tube network, playing a vital role in keeping London moving.”


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