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The New Met Line train

posted 31 Jul 2010, 05:43 by Tomo   [ updated 2 Aug 2010, 12:30 ]
The new Met Line train (also known as S-Stock) had its first trip out on the Metropolitan Line today in normal passenger service, Saturday 30th July 2010 as a "soft" launch, doing a few trips from Wembley Park to Watford return, before it's official and media launch by Boris on Monday 2nd August 2010.

The features of the new "S-Stock" train have been widely advertised in advance, and many features are common with the new London Overground trains:
  • Improved Safety, with CCTV and passenger alarms that allow you to speak to the driver
  • On board passenger information, displays showing destination, next station, and automated announcements
  • Air Conditioning and automatic closing doors
  • Faster Journeys - the trains are able to go faster, but the signals need replacing to fully benefit from this improvement
  • Regenerative braking - so power is returned to the network when the train is braking
  • Easier Access - almost level access from the majority of Met Line station platforms
  • Walk through carriages and spaces allocated for wheelchairs
  • More space in general, although this does mean less seats compared to the existing trains

New Met Line Trains

Not all of the benefits of the train can be enjoyed until other upgrades are completed, in particular the signalling upgrade that has yet to be ordered - see here

For more pictures of the inside of the S-Stock train you can browse our Picasa Web album, just click on the album to the left to see some pictures.

The new trains will be introduced over the next 2 years for the Metropolitan Line (the Met gets the new trains before the Circle, Hammersmith and City and District lines). 

There have been two pre-production trains already in test for the past couple of months. The first couple of passenger trains will be primarily targetted for use at off-peak times to allow staff and drivers to familiarise themselves with the new equipment, and to observe any last-minute modifications that might be required. Then later in the Autumn once the Derby production line will ramp up to produce a new train approx every 2 weeks.

Regular users of the Metropolitan Line from Chorleywood will be closely observing how the benefits and drawbacks of the new trains will improve and affect the service they experience.

So what do I think?
For me, personally, the new train is going to offer a significantly better journey, provided I can get a seat. And it really is the seating issue that is going to galvanise opinion for regular commuters as with 30% less seats on S-Stock trains compred to the old A-Stock that's going to be a hit or miss affair for those further away from the terminus. This reduction in the number of seats is going to be made significantly worse by the delay in the re-signalling of the Metropolitan line caused by the failure of the MetroNet PPP contract. When the re-signalling is complete the trains will be able to run more frequently and will have faster journey times, and this should restore the number of seats per hour to old-train levels. However, by the time the re-signnaling is done (might be 2016 if we're lucky, contract date likely to be 2018), there will have been a step change in demand on the line, and there will still be not enough seats to go around.

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