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Refurbishment of first Central Line carriage completed

The £500m refurb programme will keep the existing 30-year-old carriages in service for up to 15 years, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Refurbished Central Line carriage (credit TfL)

The first Central Line train has been refurbished as part of a £500million programme that will keep the 30-year-old trains running for another ten to 15 years.

The new trains are fitted with CCTV for the first time, with two “fish-eye” lens attached to the ceiling of each of the seven carriages.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was “so impressed” with the refit on a visit today (Friday 15th), adding: “It looks like a new train.

“They have managed to change everything, but at massively reduced cost. There is CCTV now on the Central Line, the possibility for wheelchairs to be properly parked, better lit and we have a new moquette.”

The Central Line Improvement Programme (CLIP) will take five trains out of service at any one time, over the next four years, in order to carry out their refurbishment. The project involves stripping the line trains down to the frame, with about half the parts either replaced or improved.

Asked why the Central Line was not following the Piccadilly Line in getting new trains, Khan said: “Basically, the government has not given us the funding we need.

“We are having to be imaginative in how we spend what we have. The great thing about TfL is that they have the innovation, working with great fitters and manufacturers across the country, to improve these trains and prolong their lives.”

The refurbished trains have new motors – which should address worsening reliability problems that results in delays when trains have to be taken out of service, new lighting and new seating.

The new seat pattern is called ‘Tuppeny’, a reference to the Central Line’s heritage. When it was launched it became known as the ‘two-penny tube’ or ‘tuppeny tube’ due to the cost of a fare.

The first newly refurbished train is running occasional “shuttles” – carrying passengers – between Hainault and Woodford to test the improvements, including the public intercom, which tube bosses admit is currently very loud.

The Central Line, the longest line on the Underground, is only narrowly behind the Northern Line and Jubilee Line in terms of passenger numbers. It is currently used for about 4.5 million journeys a week.