On December 18 2015, the final S-Stock vehicle from the initial order for 1,395 vehicles rolled off the production line. It was unveiled to the press and invited guests at Derby Litchurch Lane.
It will enter traffic later this year and join the rest of the S-Stock fleet in transforming the travel experience for millions of London commuters each week. When the final train is delivered, Bombardier trains will operate on some 40% of the London Underground sub-surface network, including the Metropolitan, Circle, District and Hammersmith and City lines. Some of the trains replaced by the new fleet dated from 1960 and the difference in both performance and appearance is nothing short of transformational. S-Stock trains are now recording reliability figures above 100,000 kilometres per failure, and as signalling systems and power upgrades are completed, so their performance on the LU network will only continue to improve.
Speaking about Bombardier’s completion of the train order, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “These fantastic, air-conditioned trains are playing a vital role in the on-going modernisation of key London Underground lines. It is no wonder they have proven so popular with passengers as they keep them cooler, offer more space and are far more accessible. Their production at Bombardier in Derby is helping to support crucial jobs in manufacturing and I am looking forward to seeing the final trains roll on to the tracks.”
Nick Brown, London Underground Managing Director, said: “Our new trains were an instant hit with our customers and it is easy to see why. With air-conditioning, more space, improved accessibility and better customer information systems, they are a major part of the vital modernisation of the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. LU’s successful relationship with Bombardier creates thousands of jobs in the UK and is providing superb new services for our customers.”
Per Allmer, Head of Western Europe, Middle East and Africa region at Bombardier Transportation, said: “With the successful completion of the 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.”
Passengers love the trains, and their fondness for the design will surely increase as the months and years go by and the performance of the trains improves.
The first S-Stock train was delivered in 2009 for testing, and entered traffic between Wembley and Watford on the Metropolitan Line. London Underground initially placed an order for 191 trains, but in July 2015 that was increased by one extra train that was needed because of the Croxley Link extension.
The additional order is for an eight-car train and one spare vehicle. It will operate on the ‘Met Line’, which was the first LU route to benefit from the introduction of a full S-Stock fleet. The trains replaced stock dating back to 1960-1962.
Bombardier’s S-Stock has revolutionised the London Underground network thanks to its vastly improved interiors that feature air-conditioning and walkthrough gangways - a massive step-change from the 1960 A-Stock they replaced on the Metropolitan Line and the 1969 C-Stock that they replaced on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines.
Such is their impact on London that the S-Stock was voted the ninth most popular transport design in London in a survey published at the end of 2015. Sponsored by Exterion Media, the ‘Design Icons’ search is part of the ‘Transported by Design’ programme, an 18-month celebration of events, exhibitions and competitions highlighting the role of good design on the Capital’s network. The fact that S-Stock, at less than five years old, came ninth in a list of 100 designs speaks volumes for the popularity of the trains.
Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner, says: “Through our ‘Design Icons’ search we want to showcase how, from the Tube map to the smallest detail of the new Routemaster bus, S-Stock trains and our multi-billion pound upgrade projects, everything is designed with our customers in mind.”
Transport for London put the first S-Stock into traffic on August 2 2010. On that day, Mayor of London Boris Johnson travelled on the train saying: “There cannot be a better way to criss-cross North West London than in this smooth, state-of-the-art addition to London’s infrastructure. This train is literally the coolest ride in town.”