In Pictures: Refurbished Northern Line Tube Trains

Trains on the Northern line are currently undergoing a well-earned refurb, with new seats, repainted handrails and a few other minor touch-ups. We rode one the other day: click through the pictures above for a look.

The most conspicuous change is the handrails. Gone is the shade of bright yellow, replaced by a deep shade of blue that is similar to those used on the Victoria line and Piccadilly lines. It’s quite dark (one wonders why they didn’t just go for black to match the Northern line’s hue) and lends a muted, more sombre tone to the interior.

The other most notable change is the seat moquette, with the unsightly ‘royal blue’ (itself only introduced in 2007) replaced by the newer fabric, named Barman, that can also be seen on the Central line. Unfortunately, the bad news for your glutes is that the new seats are much harder, a result of Transport for London opting for more durable and less forgiving material.

The floor has also been replaced and, curiously, the redundant door button on the outside of the doors has been covered over, but the one inside the carriage remains unmasked. Also new, and quite unnecessary, is a sign warning passengers to beware the sliding door.

The trains are being gradually upgraded and rolled out throughout the year.

All photos by author except for shot of current Northern line train, by James Davies.

See also:

The secret bits of the Northern Line

Why are their buttons on Tube train doors?

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  • me&him

    Am I just being daft here or shouldn’t the rails be black? And the seats? It’s not the Piccadilly line is it?

    • Dean Nicholas

      The trend is moving away from handrails matching the line colour. I think only the Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Victoria (both partially) Circle and District currently have them, and the latter will be switching from green to yellow when it starts running the new trains from next year. The reason is visibility, which does make it a bit odd that they’ve gone for such a dark colour on all the Northern line handrails.

      • John Bull

        The idea that handrails have to be bright neon to meet disability guidelines is actually a bit of a myth. What’s actually specified is that there be a certain number of points of contrast with their surroundings.

  • Not A Train Spotter

    You’re being daft. They’re just rails. A matching colour scheme is not required.

  • Lorum-Ipsum

    I still wish they had plastic seats on the London Underground, like the New York subway. That way at least they can be wiped down after each day and we wouldn’t have to sit on those bacteria sponges and see stories like “The Germs That Lurk on Every Tube Seat” that run every year.

    • Dean Nicholas

      Much as I like the New York subway, one of the clear advantages of the Tube is our comfortable seating, germs be damned.

      • londona729

        Trains have got less comfortable in recent years! Compare Northern line trains today to the ’38 stock train (there’s one in LTM Covent Garden)!

  • Rachel

    Seriously?!?! What we need is wifi, aircon, digital panels to interact with and charging points.

  • Geoff Marshall

    Central Line still has matching (red) handrails.

    Matching handrail colours are more essential than you realise – and is sorely going to be missed when the new S7 trains are introduced on all the sub-surface lines, because no longer will you be able to tell in a hurry if a train is a Met one or Circle/H&C one, say .. if you’ve got to the platforms of Great Portland Street just as the doors are about to close – you’ll want to be able to tell in a split second, not wait for the DMI on the side of the train to flip through.

    Yet again, TfL have made a decision without consulting the passengers and thinking it through.

    Also – the new Nothern Line refurb carriages have the same FLOOR pattern as the new Victoria Line trains. When i got on one at Stockwell the other day, I had to check that i had got onto a Northern Line train and not wandered onto the Vic platforms by mistake. Someone woman that i didn’t know saw me double-take and exclaimed “I did the same!”. Northern Line trains that look like Victoria Line ones – confusing …

  • londona729

    This seems a waste of money- there are more pressing issues for LU to spend money on, right? (!)

  • Sutharsan Sriranganathan

    I Cannot believe the TFL call this as refurbishment, when only putting some new seats and some painting for poles. In which era they are in? What we need is mobile phone coverage, decent internet, Passenger Information System and an HVAC system to tackle the heating issues during summer. This refurbishment is not even worth mentioning.