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Beating the heat in London’s stations

With the sun finally deciding to grace the capital with its presence and with millions of passengers expected to travel on the Tube during the hot weather, Transport for London (TfL) has set out the work it continues to carry in order to cool the tube network.

Image: Tube train (c) Transport for London 2005

Station cooling works at two of London’s busiest Tube stations, Green Park and Oxford Circus, has been completed ahead of London 2012 Games with the installation of air cooling units that have reduced temperatures at platform level.

At Green Park, borehole cooling technology has been used, whereby wells have been drilled to source naturally cool water from deep below the station.

At Oxford Circus station where there were already air cooling units in the ticket hall, the scheme was expanded to include all platforms areas (Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines). The new units that have been installed use cool air provided by chiller units that have been installed on top of a building owned by Transport for London, which is adjacent to the station.

Along with station cooling, the Metropolitan line is now served almost exclusively by air-conditioned trains and the first of the Hammersmith & City line’s new trains is also now running as a ‘preview’ service, between Hammersmith and Moorgate, ahead of the main roll out on the rest of the line which will commence later this year. This will then be followed by the Circle and then the District lines. By 2016, 40 per cent of the tube network will use the 191 new air conditioned trains.

Mike Brown, London Underground’s managing director, said:

“The completion of the station cooling works at both Green Park and Oxford Circus stations is great news for those travelling in central London. We are investing millions to cool temperatures for passengers through a programme that will include the delivery of new air-conditioned trains, which are now serving the Metropolitan line.

“We know there is still much to do and cooling the other deeper lines of the Tube remains a considerable engineering challenge. However, we are making significant steps and Londoners should be assured that we are not complacent about finding solutions.”

On buses, over half of London’s 6,100 double deck buses have been fitted with upper deck air cooling systems. TfL continues to work with the bus operating companies across the capital to ensure the systems are working and that the heating is not left on during the hot summer period. The majority of buses also have white roof panels which help to reflect the heat. New buses must have insulated roof and side panels which reflect heat along with tinted side glass.

As with the last five years, industrial sized blue fans are also being deployed to help cool around 30 stations across the Tube network and TfL will be providing hot weather advice to passengers. Posters and announcements at stations will provide tips to passengers on how to try and stay cool, such as:

Carry water with you;
Don’t board a train or bus if you feel unwell;
If you feel unwell please get off at the next stop and seek help from our staff and;
Avoid pulling the passenger alarm between stations, as help can be more easily obtained with the train in platform.

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