The Anonymous Widower

What Will Be The Operating Speed Of The New Tube for London?

Transport for London have said that the New Tube for London will definitely be deployed on the Piccadilly, Central and Bakerloo Lines.

These three lines have sections at one or both ends, where the lines run through the countryside and the stations are farther apart.

Only the 1992 Stock of the Central Line have their operating speed given in Wikipedia.. It is 62 mph, which is the same as the S Stock for the sub-surface lines.

The 2009 Stock of the Victoria Line, despite being similar to the S Stock have an operating speed of only 50 mph.

Because of the nature of the ends of the Piccadilly, Central and Bakerloo Lines, will 62 mph be the optimum operating speed for these trains.

I’ll look at the factors on these lines separately.

Piccadilly Line

The Piccadilly Line will be self-contained, after the sorting of the shared sections West Rayners Lane and between Ealing Broadway and Acton Town, that I discussed in Thoughts On The Power System For The New Tube for London.

I suspect the operating speed of the New Tubes for London on the Piccadilly Line, will be decided on what is best for that line.

Central Line

The Central Line is also self-contained and the best operating speed for the line will be chosen.

Bakerloo Line

The Bakerloo Line could be a problem, as currently Class 378 trains run on the same trcks. These have an operating speed of 75 mph.

These Class 378 trains will be replaced by Class 710 trains, which could have a faster performance.

Surely for optimum running, the trains should need similar performance.

The Benefit Of Automatic Train Control

On all the lines on which New Tubes for London will operate, there will be Automatic Train Control.

The operating speed will be set by the control system, whereas the maximum operating speed will be set by the trains design.

So I think we could see a maximum operating speed of 75 mph or even higher for the New Tube for London, so that it could run on faster lines and not slow the other faster trains.

More Speed Means More Powerful Trains And Improved Acceleration And braking

To go faster, you probably need more powerful trains, but the motors required would give better acceleration and braking, that would speed up services, by executing station stops in a shorter time.


I would expect from y Control Engineering training, that the New Tube for London could have a maximum operating speed in-line with the Class 710 train. So around 75-90 mph.

Could we even see an Underground train, that is capable of 100 mph?

It would only rarely, if ever, run at that speed on current plans, but it might enable Underground and National Rail services to share tracks in surprising places.

October 7, 2018 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,


  1. I don’t think the top speed will be faster than 60 mph. That’s the top speed of crossrail in the central section. Even now the central line only hits its top speed of 85 kph (53 mph) for brief moments on the surface sections.

    Comment by David S | October 7, 2018 | Reply

  2. I’m talking about a maximum speed, that will as you say only be used rarely.

    If the trains are under Automatic Train Control, the computers would run them a lot slower, but there are places where faster speeds will be possible for a mile or so. If the Bakerloo Line extends to Watford Junction, it may go faster at the Northern end.

    Giving the trains a faster capability, might allow them to get to surprising places, by perhaps doing a couple of miles on a line where other trains do 90 mph.

    I feel there’s some very radical thinking going on about these new trains.

    Siemens probably thought, they had Crossrail in the bag and then lost it to Bombardier, who came up with a totally different type of train, so Siemens went and had a very radical rethink for the Underground.

    One of the things, I think about these trains, is that they can share lines with third-rail electrification with National Rail trains. It is needed for the Northern reaches of the Bakerloo, but it could be used elsewhere.

    To share with 90 mph trains, you need to perhaps be able to run at 75 mph at times under ERTMS,

    Comment by AnonW | October 7, 2018 | Reply

    • Well I’ve driven the Lorol trains to Watford Junction. The maximum allowed speed is 45 mph. That’s never been increased. I believe it should be but it’s all down to cost. But 60 mph is plenty for an all stations tube train. There aren’t many sections where a class 378 can exceed 60 mph on routes they do. It’s only 45 mph most of the time.

      Crossrail on the other hand needs good speeds as it goes further out and hence we see they have a 90 mph capability but they are not stopping every minute like tube trains do.

      Comment by David S | October 9, 2018 | Reply

      • Thanks for that!

        Comment by AnonW | October 9, 2018

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