As announced yesterday, the new 09TS (Tube Stock) trains for London Underground's Victoria Line made their first appearance late last night. The unit began its career on a 23:55 service from Seven Sisters to Brixton. This is likely to be a semi regular thing with three paths from next weeks timetable change so if your catching one of the last Victoria Line trains home keep an eye out for the unit.
Currently London Underground only have two of the 09TS units but only one (train 2) is equipped for passenger service. The first unit, train 1, is still half fitted with testing equipment. No further deliveries of 09TS are expected for the moment but a slow ramping up at Bombardier's Derby works is expected as the new fleet replaces the original Victoria Line trains dating from the 60's
The Victoria Line Upgrade or VLU is designed to give the Line its first real boost since it opened in stages from September 1968 to March 1969 with the Victoria to Brixton section opening in July 1971. The VLU will provide an 19% increase in capacity and 16% reduction in traveling times. This is achieve in part by faster running and extra space on the new fleet taking advantage of the slightly larger tunnels on the Victoria Line than other Tube lines. In peak currently LU runs 27tph (Trains Per Hour) on the Line and this will increase to 33tph once the upgrade is complete. A new signaling system is also being installed with the current one removed once all the current 67TS trains are withdrawn from service.
The VLU is supposed to be finished in early 2012 but all the overruns (including the fact the first new 09TS train is 8 months late going into passenger service) it is now the target to complete the upgrade just before the Olympics so the Line can handle the increase in traffic.
Click here for images of the first passenger run from Bowroaduk.