Discussion:
The canard of 'driverless' tube trains
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Recliner
2021-06-02 09:54:31 UTC
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The latest short-term DfT funding settlement for TfL yet again obliges the
latter to pursue the Johnson hobby horse of 'driverless trains'. In
particular, the DfT wants DLR-style automation to be investigated on the
Drain and Piccadilly lines:

Driverless Trains

11.TfL's record of modernisation and innovation should not leave it behind
other European networks, which are achieving significant operational
efficiencies through Driverless Trains. Accordingly, DfT will lead a joint
programme with TfL on the implementation of Driverless Trains on the London
Underground.

12.Working with DfT, TfL will make sufficient progress towards the
conversion of at least one Underground line to Grade-of-Automation 3
(driverless, but with an on-board attendant, as on the Docklands Light
Railway), subject to a viable business case and its statutory
responsibilities. To achieve this DfT and TfL will produce a Full Business
Case for the Waterloo & City Line within 12 months and for the Piccadilly
Line within 18 months. Progress towards this milestone during the 2021
Funding Period will be measured by the Oversight Group and will be as
follows:

a. Delivery of at least interim OBC on Waterloo and City line by the end of
the 2021 funding period.

b. Delivery of at least interim SOBC on Piccadilly line by the end of the
2021 funding period.

c. Market engagement into alternative platform edge protection technology,
to be led by TfL and completed by 30 November 2021.

d. Design work on rolling stock specification, new signalling, and Platform
Edge Doors (PEDs).

DfT and TfL will also conduct a full review of the potential for the
implementation of GoA3 on the rest of the network. The review will conclude
within the next twelve months. DfT’s assessment of progress made towards
conversion will factor into agreeing any longer-term funding settlement in
the future.

<https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/990488/tfl-extraordinary-funding-and-financing-settlement-letter-1-june-2021.pdf>

—————

But London Reconnections is rather sceptical about the whole Johnsonian
vision of union-busting driverless trains. And it quotes one former London
mayor: “I would rather prioritise capacity… I would rather put the
investment into expanding the ability of our underground system to carry
people in comfort, than in putting money now into creating a new breed of
driverless train.”

<t
https://www.londonreconnections.com/2021/the-political-myth-of-the-driverless-tube-train/>
Robin
2021-06-02 13:51:52 UTC
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On 02/06/2021 10:54, Recliner wrote:
<snip>
Post by Recliner
But London Reconnections is rather sceptical about the whole Johnsonian
vision of union-busting driverless trains. And it quotes one former London
mayor: “I would rather prioritise capacity… I would rather put the
investment into expanding the ability of our underground system to carry
people in comfort, than in putting money now into creating a new breed of
driverless train.”
I thought that was a cheap trick that detracted from the article.
Capacity may well have been a priority in 2010. But now? Given the very
many forecasting that a much increased amount of working from home I
doubt TfL is likely to have a capacity problem for the short and medium
term. What it does have is massive budget problem - i.e. spending which
vastly exceeds its income.

To paraphrase the ante-penultimate para, my recommendation to those at
LR Towers is that they remember this, whenever the topic comes up.
Focusing on better ways to increase capacity on the London Underground
may be fighting last decade's war.



Robin
reply-to address is (intended to be) valid
Recliner
2021-06-02 14:25:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robin
<snip>
Post by Recliner
But London Reconnections is rather sceptical about the whole Johnsonian
vision of union-busting driverless trains. And it quotes one former London
mayor: “I would rather prioritise capacity… I would rather put the
investment into expanding the ability of our underground system to carry
people in comfort, than in putting money now into creating a new breed of
driverless train.”
I thought that was a cheap trick that detracted from the article.
Capacity may well have been a priority in 2010. But now? Given the very
many forecasting that a much increased amount of working from home I
doubt TfL is likely to have a capacity problem for the short and medium
term. What it does have is massive budget problem - i.e. spending which
vastly exceeds its income.
The problem is that driverless trains on the existing network would require
a large investment with little return. Given TfL's current dire financial
predicament, it's madness for Boris to order Shapps to order TfL to waste
money it doesn't have on this pointless project. Why not just go ahead
with the overdue Piccadilly resignalling? That would be a pre-requisite
for any driverless operation anyway.
Post by Robin
To paraphrase the ante-penultimate para, my recommendation to those at
LR Towers is that they remember this, whenever the topic comes up.
Focusing on better ways to increase capacity on the London Underground
may be fighting last decade's war.
So let's have projects to investigate ways to make LU more efficient, or to
increase revenues.
tim...
2021-06-02 15:22:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robin
<snip>
Post by Recliner
But London Reconnections is rather sceptical about the whole Johnsonian
vision of union-busting driverless trains. And it quotes one former London
mayor: “I would rather prioritise capacity… I would rather put the
investment into expanding the ability of our underground system to carry
people in comfort, than in putting money now into creating a new breed of
driverless train.”
I thought that was a cheap trick that detracted from the article. Capacity
may well have been a priority in 2010. But now? Given the very many
forecasting that a much increased amount of working from home I doubt TfL
is likely to have a capacity problem for the short and medium term. What
it does have is massive budget problem - i.e. spending which vastly
exceeds its income.
To paraphrase the ante-penultimate para, my recommendation to those at LR
Towers is that they remember this, whenever the topic comes up. Focusing
on better ways to increase capacity on the London Underground may be
fighting last decade's war.
and methinks people protest too much

analysis of driverless trains is either going to be cost effective or it
isn't.

I doubt that the treasury will sign it off if it isn't

Though superficially, for trains with attendants it surely doesn't cost that
much to implement

All it needs is updated signalling systems, which are presumably upgraded at
intervals anyway and platform doors (which also help to save costs on air
conditioned platforms).

Against which, you are still going to have an attendant of board to deal
with emergency evacuations, which somewhat negates the saving from drivers.

So surely it all comes down to what is the saving in cost from operating
with attendant rather than drivers? Which is as much an issue of what are
the recruitment/training costs of this role as much as the annual salary.
Post by Robin
Robin
reply-to address is (intended to be) valid
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