TfL Twitter Q&A about Central line Tube backfires: London Underground line won’t get air-con until early 2030 … – Evening Standard



Commuters battling “inhuman” conditions on the Tube were left fuming today after being told it will be more than a decade before the introduction of air-conditioned trains.

Travellers battling sweltering heat on the Central line were invited to put their questions in an #AskCentral Q&A session on Twitter.

Giovanni Lepori asked: “The heat inside trains is reaching levels that are certainly dangerous for elderly people and children.. what is being done to solve these unacceptable conditions for which we pay very high prices?”

In reply, the line’s social media staffer – known as “Sol” – wrote: “Hi, we’re aware of the heating issues. We’ve made improvements to the ventilation systems on the current fleet. 

Passengers are facing temperatures over 30C on the Underground amid a scorching heatwave in the UK (Evening Standard / eyevine)

“New trains are coming in early 2030, under the Deep Tube Upgrade Program which will be delivered with full air cooling systems.”

The “nonchalant” response drew a furious response from travellers already feeling the heat as temperatures on the network’s second hottest line reportedly edged towards 34C.

“Everybody stinks”: Viliana Rankova fans herself on the Central line at 35.4C (Nigel Howard)

Hundreds of Londoners blew their cool, with one – known as Yasmine – writing: “Waiting close to 12 years for air conditioning is not humane or normal.”

Katherine Denham responded: “People: Omg it’s so hot on the central line it’s like commuting inside a volcano. Central line: Don’t worry, if you travel forward in time – say like 12 years – this won’t even be a problem.”

Dominic Amodio responded: “Trains will be flying by then, future boy.”

One Londoner Daniel Faulkner has started a petition, calling for the Deep Tube Upgrade Program – which will see the introduction of the air-conditioned trains – to be brought forward on the Central Line. 

Mr Faulkner said: “The increasing load on the line due to more travellers and the weather in the UK has also made it unbearable to travel on the Central Line due to lack of Air Flow or Air Conditioning, we are being informed that new fully air conditioned rolling stock will be available in 2030…… a full 12 years away, temperatures are 30 to 40 degrees plus. I ask that the Deep Tube Upgrade Program be significantly brought forward for the Central Line.”

Meanwhile, Amar Patel wrote: “@SadiqKhan Mr. Mayor… do you think this response is adequate?  Feels like we are being ‘trolled’ by TfL on a serious issue.  There must be a health and safety concern allowing the public to use the line?! #12years #centrallinesauna”

Rona Hunnisett added: “2030? Most passengers will be utterly dessicated by then” with Jess K. remarking: “2030! At this rate, London will be a puddle of lava and sweat by then.”

A spokesman for TfL said today the firm was “doing all it can” to improve conditions on the Central Line and across the Underground network.

He added the 12-year time frame given for the improvements was due to the “difficult nature” of the works.

The spat came as London braced itself for yet another record-breaking day with forecasters suggesting the mercury will hit 36C in the capital tomorrow before thunderstorms on Friday bring a dramatic end to a week of scorching conditions.

There was better news for London Underground staff on the Northern Line, however, who have been given the option to wear shorts as part of a trial keep staff cool.

If the 12-week pilot at six stations on the line is a success shorts could become a permanent option for Tube staff, Transport for London said.

It was confirmed this morning that staff at the Waterloo mainline station will hand out thousands of bottles of chilled water to commuters who face the “perfect storm” of strike action combined with the threat of buckled rails due to the heat tomorrow.

South Western Railway (SWR) passengers are facing chaos caused by strike action affecting all routes to and from mainline Waterloo.

Meanwhile, at Paddington Station rail chiefs are planning to hand out ice lollies to passengers to help them cope with the heat and Deliveroo is giving away 3,000 ice creams for commuters at Bakerloo Line stations Regent’s Park, Waterloo and Embankment.