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ur remit is to maintain, renew and upgrade the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines

on behalf of London Underground (LU). On a more strategic level, the company is working together with LU to transform the world’s oldest metro system into a railway suitable for a modern, dynamic and fast-moving capital city such as London.

Tube Lines is delivering an improvement programme worth £5.4bn over eight years to the Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines, as part of an overall TfL upgrade plan for the Tube that is the largest upgrade programme that the network has ever seen.

Our remit covers a massive 41% of the entire LU network and also includes the maintenance, renewal and upgrade of over 320 kilometres of track, 254 points and crossings, 255 trains, 100 stations, 4314 bridges and other structures, 231 escalators and 110 lifts.

One of the key programmes of works we have carried out is a complete overhaul and improvement of the fl eet on the Jubilee line. This was a unique project that has set a new industry benchmark in terms of managing to implement a very complex project in record time without stopping any trains for service with a very high level of quality. Key for the delivery was the extensive use of lean manufacturing techniques, very strong quality assurance, true partnership with suppliers and very strong project management. It was imperative that this work took place in time for the Olympics due to the potential impact on availability of trains and safety.

The work packages were as follows: Brake actuator

The brake actuator is critical to safety and availability as any leakage could activate the

brakes suddenly. The process to remove and refi t a single actuator was initially eight hours and was reduced to three hours by completely reworking the process. New lifting equipment was designed by the team and that allowed the reduced process time with improved safety of the task. A team of 11 people worked on this activity mainly during nights replacing a train’s worth of brake actuators (16).


Prior to introduction of Transmission Based Train Control (TBTC), this system was already the worst performing, with large numbers of no fault found. With the introduction of TBTC and the cross-loading during the Olympics, the situation was very likely to become much worse. One of the life expired components (the EP valve) was safety critical.

Following a condition assessment of the components, the scope was defi ned and split into three phases, with the two most critical completed (phase 1a and 1b) before the Olympics.

The previous benchmark project for doors overhaul was the Northern line, where the processes were optimised, and this meant that it was possible to complete one unit (three cars) between peaks, which was already a vast improvement on the usual time taken of two days. During this project we delivered one train (seven cars) between peaks – therefore a 133% improvement on effi ciency without affecting availability of trains. This was combined with the six monthly exam also completed on the train at the same time.

A team of 41 people were working on this job, mainly during day shifts. This was also complemented by the maintenance team performing the six monthly exam.

Semi-permanent couplers

Drawgear collapse and worn-out AMPEP bearing were the two failure modes experienced by the semi-permanent coupler.

Even with relatively low numbers of failures, due to

the complexity of the task of removing and refi tting, any failure would lead to trains being taken out of service. The

52 | rail technology magazine Dec/Jan 13

combination of the overhaul being overdue and the duty cycle as a result of TBTC were making the situation diffi cult to manage with part of the overhaul being overdue and hardest duty cycle with TBTC. The initial strategy of just replacing the AMPEP bearing, although this was having a positive effect, was not enough and a full overhaul of the coupler was required.

The process for remove and refi t was created from scratch to ensure the task could be performed between peaks at the takt rate of one train a day.

Previously a single replacement of a semi- permanent coupler used to take over 12 hours. Critical to the process was a bespoke lifting table/stillage, which was designed for the completion of this task. This allowed the team to remove the whole assembly in one stage. This lifting table was also used to transport the semi-permanent coupler to the sub-supplier for overhaul, thus improving the safety of the transportation process.

The supplier for the overhaul of this system had never performed a task with this level of intensity and it was subjected to a very comprehensive audit regime by Tube Lines to ensure the quality of the product was not compromised. The number of team members that worked on this project was 27.

Saloon seats

Previously, the seats on the Jubilee line fl eet were a traditional sprung wire construction comprising of coil springs and a wire frame.

A feature of this type of construction is that when a spring fails, there is a possibility of a sharp wire protruding from the seat base and causing damage to property or injury to passengers. This was an increasing situation with the seats on the fl eet and they were deemed fundamentally life expired.

There were two options for replacement of these seats: direct replacement with new versions of the existing design or a new design to remove the historical failure modes and, if possible, provide a reduced whole life cost model.

After a tender process for a new design a supplier was selected. The new seat design had a customer satisfaction survey with over 700 interviews and a satisfaction rate of over 90% of customers.

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