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Central Line platform at Queensway tube station
Photograph: Alexandre Tziripouloff /

Delays on the Central Line will last for months

TfL has warned that severe disruption on the red line is likely to continue

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Any regular user of the Central Line will tell you that things haven’t been right for quite some time. The bright red tube line has been plagued by lengthy delays and busier trains for months – and now it’s been warned that disruption is likely to continue.  

So, why the delays? Well, issues on the tube line are partly intentional. Due to the Central Line getting fancy new refurbished trains (find out more about those here), the route doesn’t currently have a full fleet of trains. Some of the carriages are off getting a makeover with CCTV cameras, better accessibility and, crucially, a fresh new moquette.

But there are other issues that are making the Central Line’s train shortages worse. According to the Standard, TfL has said that the service is ‘experiencing an abnormally high number of motor failures’. While engineers fix these issues, the red line has even fewer trains in service than usual – and fewer trains cause more delays.

In an email to customers, TfL said: ‘While our engineers are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible, it is a complex process and means that we have fewer trains available for service each day while the work takes place.

‘We received a delivery of refurbished motor parts last week and the work to replace these is progressing well.

‘This will allow us to bring several trains back into service over the coming weeks.

‘While this should help improve the service, the motor failures are still occurring at a higher rate than we’ve experienced before and some disruption to normal service levels is likely to continue for some months.’

The full refurb of all 85 Central Line trains isn’t expected to be complete before 2029, so don’t expect a full service for quite some time yet. Until the other issues are also fixed, TfL is asking customers to allow more time for journeys and consider alternative routes. 

The Central Line’s glow-up

Ever since the Central Line’s £500 million refurbishments were first announced, we’ve been pretty hyped to see the sparkly new interiors in action. Check out this first look inside the trains, which started entering service at the tail end of last year.

Did you see that there could soon be a new way to pay for the Elizabeth line?

Plus: London train strikes January and February 2024: everything you need to know.

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