A new design for Tube trains has been announced by TfL today, with Boris Johnson describing the new designs as "innovative, eye-catching and sleek".
For those of us who care for functionality over vanity (i.e. those of us who actually use the Tube), what difference will these new Tubes make? Two key things are walk-through carriages and wider doors to enable people to get on and off quickly (and offer more capacity) and — sweet relief! — air-cooling on the deep-level lines.
In what could be a worrying move for drivers, the trains will be capable of "fully automatic operation", although we're told there will be an operator on board when they first come into use.
The plan is to build 250 of the new trains, at an estimated cost of £1 billion-£2.5 billion. They will be distributed among the Piccadilly (100 new trains) Central (100 new trains) Bakerloo (40 new trains) and Waterloo & City (10 new trains) lines. Capacity on these lines is expected to increase by between 25 per cent and 60 per cent, with 19,000 extra customers per hour on the Piccadilly line.
The new Tube trains will be introduced first on the Piccadilly line, followed by the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City lines. Don't get too excited yet though; the trains aren't expected to come into service until around 2025.
Want to get a closer look at the future? The New Tube for London exhibition is at King's Cross St Pancras Underground station, Northern ticket hall, from 9 October to 16 November, featuring images and this video of the new design.