S Stock – 191 all out

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A total of 1,395 carriages and almost 13 years since being awarded the contract, Bombardier is close to completing the final train of its popular S Stock class.

At a ceremony in Derby, Bombardier’s UK managing director Richard Hunter and London Underground managing director Nick Brown presented the final car of the 191 trains on order for the Underground.

Once the speeches were complete, technicians continued the fit-out of the final carriage. Bombardier’s S Stock trains are now in service across the Metropolitan, District, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines, collectively known as the sub- surface lines.

Nick Brown described the S Stock as the future of Tube trains. ‘They’re bright and light and airy inside, so it just feels much more contemporary, much more comfortable and much more easy to travel in.’

Signalling renewal

The new £1.5 billion fleet, coupled with a major signalling renewal programme, will deliver a much higher frequency service on the sub-surface network – which makes up around 40 per cent of the London Underground. In August, Thales was awarded a £760 million contract to do the work.

The contract had to be re-let to Thales after Bombardier pulled out, deciding it would be unable to deliver the system.

Speaking to RailStaff, Nick Brown said Thales had made a ‘cracking start’ to delivering the new signalling and automatic train control systems across all lines by 2022. In order for this to happen, all 191 S Stock trains will have to return to Derby to have the onboard systems fitted.

He said, ’We’ve already tested the train-to-signalling and signalling-to-train equipment at the Old Dalby test track, so proving that works and the train was taken under automatic control, which proves that the CBTC system works.

‘That is a huge milestone which has been achieved just four months after the programme started – a major testimony not just to the train but also to the excellent work of Thales and London Underground engineers.’

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Talking about the introduction of the S Stock, he added, ‘Through the summer we actually accelerated the programme for a period of time. We brought more trains into service and managed to catch up with driver and engineer training. Trains will all be in service by the middle-end of next year.’

Onward to Crossrail

The 191 trains break down as 58 eight-car units for the Metropolitan line, to replace the A Stock trains, and 133 seven-car S7 units for the Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines to replace the C and D stock vehicles. The fleet is currently delivering 110,000 kilometres between service failures.

The S Stock contract awarded to Bombardier in 2003, along with an order for new Victoria line trains, has been a significant part of the Derby factory’s output for the best part of 13 years.

Although the S Stock production line is winding down, Richard said the engineering workforce will actually increase to both deliver the Crossrail order and meet the servicing and maintenance requirement for the S Stock fleet. The new test shed being built specially for Crossrail is expected to be operational in Q2 2016.

Says Per Allmer, head of Western Europe, Middle East and Africa region at Bombardier Transportation, ‘With the successful completion of this new SSL fleet, together with our previous build of the new Victoria Line trains, we have now delivered more than 1,700 vehicles to London Underground since 2009 and amassed over two million engineering hours’ experience.

‘As the only supplier currently providing air-conditioned stock on the Tube, we’re keen to capitalise on this experience in the future.’

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