By Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter
Transport for London (TfL) has begun trials of a cooling system for deep-level Tube lines which it hopes could bring down temperatures for passengers and reduce maintenance costs.
It comes as record-high temperatures of 40C on Tuesday brought widespread disruption to London’s transport network, with stations closed and many services delayed or cancelled.
The cooling system involves the use of panels, which circulate cold water around pipework within a curved metal structure, while industrial-sized fans circulate air around the structure, produces a chilling effect.
Trials are being conducted on a disused platform at Holborn Tube station, with plans to expand the trial to an active platform at Knightsbridge station.
TfL said it hopes the new cooling panels could cut operational and maintenance costs of cooling the Tube network by 50 per cent.
Following the completion of further trials, TfL aims to install the cooling panels at five stations on the Piccadilly Line – Knightsbridge, Holborn, Green Park, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.
Paul Judge, TfL’s project director for the Piccadilly Line upgrade, said: “The cooling panel project is supporting the Piccadilly Line Upgrade, which will see new trains with more space, air-conditioning, walk-through carriages and improved accessibility running at greater frequencies on the line.
“By seeking innovative solutions to cool platforms on the deep Tube network, we will be able to support future Piccadilly Line train frequency increases with the possibility that the technology could be used on other Underground lines.”
Tests in a lab environment have seen the cooling panels achieve temperature reductions of between 10C and 15C, which TfL hopes to replicate during live trials at Holborn.
Though the project has received 70 per cent of its funding from the Department for Transport, TfL has said the expansion of trials and roll out of the technology on other Tube lines would be dependent on securing a long-term funding deal from the Government.
TfL officials have until 28 July to hash out a new funding agreement with the Department for Transport following a second short-term extension to the existing bailout earlier this month.
Pictured top: Passenger rides the London underground Picture: Image by rawpixel.com