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Piccadilly Line carriage
Photo: TFL

The Piccadilly Line is sexy now?

The dark blue tube line’s had a secret lockdown glow-up

By Joe Mackertich

The tube network is like a big, multi-generational family. The Bakerloo is the doddery grandpa who smells of dust. The Jubilee is the spooky, dead-eyed nephew who’s studied abroad and wears utilitarian clothing. The Circle line is a liability and we don’t let them in the house anymore. The Victoria line is Mother, a powerful presence, somehow holding it all together. And the Piccadilly? The Piccadilly is the thrill-seeking night owl, out until the wee hours every weekend. But now, later in life, the Piccadilly is beginning to show the effects of too many late-night West End sprees. It’s... a bit sad.

That was... until now. It turns out that while most of London was locked up indoors, getting depressed, the Piccadilly line has been on a serious self-improvement kick. It’s like the Piccadilly line that you remember... but it’s been to rehab, done detox and subscribes to Goop.

The existing Piccadilly line fleet was built in the 1970s. Which explains a few things. The 94 new trains are the result of a TFL x Siemens Mobile public transport collab, and will gradually be introduced into active service. They’re called ‘Inspiro London’ trains (weirdly into that) and will start popping up from 2025.

New Piccadilly Line trains
Photo: TFL

‘The state-of-the-art tube trains (have)... wider doors and longer, walk-through, air-conditioned carriages for more comfortable journeys,’ says TFL. ‘The new trains optimise space to boast 10 percent more capacity... and have also been designed with sustainability in mind. They are 95 percent recoverable and also offer regenerative braking capability, cutting-edge traction systems, LED lighting throughout and advanced energy management. This means energy consumption is reduced by 20 percent.’

The trains, which are fully walk-throughable, were designed with feedback from TFL’s Independent Disability Advisory Group and the Accessibility Forum. The order for the new trains (together with a future investment for signalling) would also support 25,000 new jobs in the capital. Great stuff.

New Piccadilly Line trains
Photo: TFL

‘These much-needed new trains will be a great step forward for our city,’ said Mayor Sadiq Khan. ‘But we need investment to continue this work. I will keep lobbying the government to deliver a long-term, viable funding model for TFL, which would enable us to carry out more upgrades to the network’s ageing infrastructure, boost our economy and deliver a green recovery for London and the wider country.’

Sounds great. Now, if someone could just fix that really narrow platform at Kennington, we’re all set.

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