The wait on the platform for a Hammersmith & City or Circle line train can seem endless. The Next Train Indicator (the board with times) keeps saying a train is about to arrive, but alas, it doesn't. Another Met line train whizzes by, as your day gets longer, and longer, and longer.
Well good news. The end — of long waits — is nigh. TfL has successfully tested new signalling systems on the line for the first time, which should mean a more regular surface for commuters.
Signalling is the main pitfall on the sub-surface part of the tube network. Lots of parts are historic — the signal box at Edgware Road dates back to 1926 and is a designated place of historic interest.
The new system works using WiFi to locate precisely where the trains are so they can — safely — run closer together. Customers should benefit from the changes in the coming year, when the new signals go live, hopefully meaning fewer signal failures. Then in 2021, frequency will start to increase, and finally in 2023 all four sub-surface lines — District and Metropolitan included — will feel the benefits.
Mark Wild, the Managing Director of London Underground, said:
This is a fantastic step forward in the vital programme to modernise nearly half of the Tube network. The new signalling system will provide our customers with more frequent trains and quicker journeys, as well as improving reliability and improving customer information. We are making improvements for our customers all over the network and this programme represents a hugely significant part of that work.
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