New high-tech London Underground train that will be different from all the others

People wait for the tube train inside Westminster tube station
-Credit: (Image: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)

Transport for London (TfL) is testing a brand new Underground train that will perform a crucial function on the network. The technology is being deployed as part of officials' efforts to improve the air quality on platforms and in tunnels.

The mayor told the London Assembly on July 5: "As part of its continuing work to improve air quality on the Tube network, Transport for London (TfL) is exploring the latest advances in innovation. This includes trialing a bespoke track cleaning train, which is currently going through TfL’s approval process, to ensure it is safe to operate on the Tube network.

"The trial is expected to take place later this year."

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Sadiq Khan standing in Downing Street
Sadiq Khan says the trial of the new train is due to take place later this year -Credit:Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mr Khan also provided an update on the operation of new air filters at two Tube stops. He said: "As part of its continuing work improve air quality on the Tube network, Transport for London (TfL) is exploring the latest advances in innovation.

"This includes the trial of an air filtration system at Baker Street, which started in May 2024. The air filtration system will be assessed over the coming months to understand its ability to handle large volumes of air, the rate at which dust is captured, ease of maintenance, and any other possible issues. TfL will keep your office updated once this trial has been concluded."

The mayor's TfL budget for this year said that Green Park was also going to get a new filter system as part of the trial.

Tube dust 'could have particularly adverse health impacts'

Transport for London (TfL) has said that it is working with experts on more research into potential health effects of dust on the London Underground network.

In March, Imperial College London research, commissioned by TfL, found that fleet staff, customer service workers and drivers all had higher rates of sickness absence due to any cause compared with 'non-exposed' office workers.

A study by Cambridge academics in December 2022 found that 'ultrafine particles' primarily generated by friction from the wheels, tracks and brakes, are found in 'abundance' on the Tube, and 'could have particularly adverse health impacts as their smaller size makes it possible to pass from lungs to the blood stream'.

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