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Power environment friendly trains are coming to the oldest subway system on the planet

Susannah V. Vergau | Moment | Getty Images

Designs for new trains to be launched on the Piccadilly line of the London Underground from 2025 were presented on the latest example of how mass transportation systems in large cities are changing, incorporating new features and technology.

Details about the trains that are to replace rolling stock from the 1970s were published on Thursday by Transport for London and Siemens Mobility.

They will use floor air conditioning, use 20% less energy than the current fleet, and be “significantly lighter” than existing units – which in turn will reduce track damage.

In addition, the trains will have wider doors, 10% more passenger capacity, and be walkable, which means that no interior doors will be used to separate the cars.

According to a document from Siemens Mobility, the trains will also use “intelligent remote monitoring and digital services” through an application suite called Railigent.

The London Underground dates back to 1863 when the world’s first underground railroad opened between Paddington and Farringdon Streets. The Piccadilly line dates back to 1906. Given its age, the city’s authorities have introduced a number of innovations in recent years that focus on modernizing the network.

These include the ability to “enter and exit” ticket barriers with a smartphone, debit or credit card, as well as the introduction of Wi-Fi services at more than 250 stations in the network, with which customers can surf the Internet on platforms and escalators as well as in ticket halls and corridors.

A global shift

The way trains run is changing. Many cities around the world now offer driverless services. Examples of this are the 24/7 subway in Copenhagen, Denmark and part of the extensive network of the subway in Delhi, which the operators call “fully automatic”.

London is one of many cities trying to upgrade their underground trains. Last December, the Australian city of Melbourne began rolling out a fleet of 65 new trains on its urban rail network.

These trains have an additional capacity of 20%, are accessible and offer passengers real-time information via information displays and “dynamic route maps”.

As the trains that transport passengers to and from their destinations change, the infrastructure that supports public transportation is also in the midst of significant technology-driven change.

Last November, SNCF Reseau, which manages the French railway infrastructure, and Capgemini announced a partnership that will use new technologies to improve the monitoring and resolution of problems on the network.

The idea is that using geolocation technology, problems on the railroad will be located in real time.

Among other things, the system enables the teams at SNCF Reseau to “locate” incidents on a map with infrastructure data and guide employees to the exact location where they need to be to resolve the problem.

These on-site employees can then get in touch with their colleagues and inform them about the problem and when it will be resolved.

Capgemini said at the time that SNCF Reseau had been using the technology in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes since summer 2020. The idea is to expand the system called “New Generation Supervision” to other parts of the country in 2021 and 2022.

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