Leaked Report Claims Driverless Tube Trains Not Worth The Money

A London Underground report leaked to rail unions, claim it’s not worth the money in making tube trains driverless, putting a negative outlook on the proposal to spend £7 billion by Transport for London (TfL) on the transition.

Railway drivers’ union, Aslef, would rather prefer the project to be scrapped altogether as they believe that the idea was politically driven.

The report prepared for TfL managers states that the cost of running trains without drivers and attendants would be huge and the benefits would be marginal.

The report claim that converting old rail lines is not financially viable because of the high capital costs involved even though the document  suggests that it could make sense to include driverless capability on new rail lines and upgrades.

New platform barriers and doors will need to be constructed to stop people falling onto the track, also new signalling systems and other equipment need to be put in place.

Despite the trains been driverless, the report suggests that there would still need to be a train operator on every Tube train due to the nature of London’s lines which are deep and only inches wider than the trains themselves.

Some benefits noted would include better platform safety and slight increases in reliability.

The document, dated August, continues: “Value for money is significantly weakened if driverless conversion is undertaken via a retro-fit of existing trains and infrastructure, due to increased costs, risks and shorter remaining life of key assets.

“Value for money and affordability of driverless conversion should be considered as opportunities arise alongside planned line upgrade and asset renewal programmes through the 2020s-2040s.

“The driverless case is unlikely to be strong enough to justify prioritisation ahead of planned capacity enhancements on the LU network.”

It concluded: “Staffing efficiencies are offset by increased maintenance costs of the additional safety systems, surveillance, security fencing etc required.

“Overall the case is not financially positive given the high capital costs.

“Its implementation network-wide will present a considerable affordability challenge which will further exacerbate TfL’s current financial and longer-term funding position.”