Fed-up District line commuters, particularly in Fulham, are set to find their morning tube journeys a little bit easier after the first of a new generation of bigger and better trains were rolled out this week.
In a victory for Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council’s Get Moving campaign, the first ‘s-class’ trains have been seen running on the Wimbledon to Edgware branch – which is the most overcrowded tube line in west London.
The new s-class trains are wider than the old stock and are seven carriages long instead of six meaning there is set to be considerable extra capacity – about 18% – on the line.
The new trains, which are built by Bombardier in Derby, are all air conditioned and have lower floors to ease accessibility for Disabled people and parents with buggies.
Passengers can walk the whole length of the train, so it is easier to get to the least crowded parts, and this also improves passenger safety and security, according to Transport for London (TfL).
CCTV also enables the driver to see into every carriage while track-to-train video links give the driver a better view of the outside of the train before leaving a station.
H&F has the highest proportion of tube users in the capital with 39% of H&F residents travelling to work on the Underground, according to the 2011 census.
The District Line is also used by more than 700,000 people each day. At peak times the Wimbledon branch of the District Line operates at 92 per cent of capacity with some trains operating over capacity and many passengers unable to board at stations such as Parson’s Green and Fulham Broadway.
Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council Leader, said: "Any Fulham resident who has tried to board a District Line train during the morning rush hour will know that it is sometimes physically impossible to do so as many are already bursting at the seams when they arrive at Parsons Green or Fulham Broadway. These bigger and better trains, which will add capacity and generally make life more comfortable for commuters, will therefore come as a very welcome relief.
“A major thrust of the council’s drive to Get H&F Moving has been to improve the borough’s north-south routes. The council has done its bit by improving roads, such as Fulham Palace Road, and it is very positive that TfL is following suit by adding capacity to one of the capital’s busiest commuter routes.”