Central line’s ‘bad run’ of signal failures will improve after £230m upgrade in 2020

Central line trains are some of the oldest in operation and many need motors replaced. Picture: Paul Bennett.

Central line trains are some of the oldest in operation and many need motors replaced. Picture: Paul Bennett. - Credit: Archant

Reliability on the Central line is improving, despite a recent spate of faulty train signals, according to Transport for London

Redbridge councillors grilled TfL representatives at an external scrutiny community meeting in Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, and told the company that delays were causing misery for thousands of Redbridge commuters.

A TfL spokesman said, the recent hot temperatures does have its challenges but they could not blame the service on the weather.

“We have had a range of failures that I wouldn’t expect to see,” he told the room on Thursday, July 12.

“We have had a bad run but it hasn’t been one thing in particular (to blame).”

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The spokesman said the wearing out of traction motors did, however, pose an obstacle in regards to signal failures.

He said a new batch of the parts will be fitted to trains on the Central line in 2020, which will “increase reliability”.

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“A big thing about reliability is the traction motors which cause a lot of signal failures,” he added.

“If we were in the early 90s then the train computer would have been at the cutting edge technology, but it’s not so it the next 18 months we are replacing them and that will help as well.

“In peak times we have 34 trains per hour running on the line and that really is a world-class service - only the Victoria has 36.

Councillor Khayer Chowdhury asked why TfL is always reactive to problems instead of looking at what could come up and forward plan.

“Couldn’t you have foreseen this,” he asked the room?

“If you knew things needed replacing why didn’t you start two years ago?”

The TfL representative said £230million is going into updating the Central line, and the service has some of the oldest trains in operation.

“Its a lot of money and we have to go through the tendering process,” he said.

“We had to build a facility for that and it is such a big piece of work. “

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