TfL Central line: Number of trains reduced by a third in 'emergency timetable'

TfL's new Central line timetable will see 21 trains per hour during the evening peak times instead of 30.
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Transport for London (TfL) has introduced an emergency timetable on the Central line in an attempt to even out gaps in the service.

Since the beginning of November, the Central line has been plagued with issues caused by "an abnormally high number of defective traction motors" requiring work during an overhaul of the trains on the line.

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Up to 30 motors a week are currently being repaired at TfL’s Hainault depot, taking several of the older trains out of service.

The Central Line needs 77 trains to operate a full service with a train every couple of minutes. Due to the current repair work it is operating with around 50 trains.

The new timetable will see 21 trains per hour during the evening peak times, instead of the average 30 trains per hour currently scheduled - although TfL says the line has not been running at the level for a number of weeks.

A TfL spokesperson said: “We have now introduced a new timetable on the Central line to make journeys more even and to create more certainty for customers while we continue to carry out urgent work to fix motors on the ageing train fleet on the line. This will mean a more consistent frequency across the whole line while this work is undertaken."

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TfL has warned Central line customers that they will have to wait longer for a train than before the disruption.

Along with the current motor issues the transport authority has reported issues with track monitoring equipment meaning temporary speed restrictions will have to be put in place.

TfL engineers replacing a motor on one of the Central line trainsTfL engineers replacing a motor on one of the Central line trains
TfL engineers replacing a motor on one of the Central line trains

“These speed restrictions have also resulted in fewer trains to Hainault via Newbury Park than we had hoped but customers should still see a more regular 10 minute service,”a TfL spokesperson said. 

“As our engineers work to remove these speed restrictions the frequency of trains in this area will increase to closer to five minutes between trains.”

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Alongside repair work, the Central line is undergoing a £500m transformation with newly refurbished trains featuring CCTV cameras and new moquette seating.

All 85 trains on the line will be overhauled and given more reliable motors and better accessibility.

The refurbishments will not be completed until 2029, with each train out of service for about four months during its overhaul.