No driverless trains on the Tube until 2020 at the earliest

Transport for London (TfL) has said there will be no driverless trains running on the capital’s underground network until 2020 at the earliest.

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground and London Rail, made the announcement at a meeting of the London Assembly Transport Committee today (October 18).

Brown said it would take at least eight years to secure funding, carry out design modifications and do the necessary analysis for driverless trains on London’s deep tube tunnel system.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has pledged to introduce automatic train control  on 48 per cent of rolling stock by the end of 2014, which he said would pave the way for the first driverless train to be run within a decade.

At today’s meeting, TfL said it would consider all options if funding for the technology was agreed, including staffing.

Alternatives mentioned included a ‘train captain’, as currently used on Docklands Light Railway.

Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the Transport Committee, said: “The issue of if and how ‘driverless’ trains are developed is of great interest to Tube passengers. If funding is acquired for such technology, TfL will need to consider carefully how it moves forward and must take into account passengers’ views.”

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