Baking on the Bakerloo line? TFL tests new tube station cooling system due to UK heatwave

Who travels regularly LondonDuring the summer, Tube no doubt spent some time baking on the Bakerloo Line or sweating in Piccadilly.

But passengers traveling on the so-called “deep” subway network will soon be able to get some fresh air while they wait on the platforms.

Transport for London (TfL) has begun testing a new “state of the art” cooling panel on a disused platform at Holborn station to test its suitability for temperature reduction on the Bakerloo, Central, Jubilee, North, Piccadilly, Victoria and Waterloo and City lines. .

The panel works by circulating cold water through pipes inside a curved metal structure to cool it. This design then cools the air around it, which is blown out through slots in the panel structure using an industrial-sized fan.

TfL says the cooling pad could provide cooler air for passengers waiting on the platforms, as well as mitigate potential temperature rises associated with more trains running on the Piccadilly line, as part of a future capacity upgrade for the line.

In recent lab testing of a prototype cooling pad, a reduction in air temperature of 10 to 15°C (18 to 27°F) in the vicinity of the pad was achieved.

Now TfL wants to see if this can be replicated on an abandoned platform in Holborn that mimics the live environment these panels will run in.

The trial began earlier this week with the UK’s hottest day on record, with temperatures at London Heathrow Airport hitting 40.2°C (104.4°F) on Tuesday.

The panel works by circulating cold water through pipes inside a curved metal structure to cool it. This design then cools the air around it, which is blown out through slots in the panel structure using an industrial-sized fan.

TfL has begun testing a cooling panel on a disused platform at Holborn Station to test its suitability for temperature reduction on the Bakerloo, Central, Jubilee, North, Piccadilly, Victoria and Waterloo and City lines.

TfL has begun testing a cooling panel on a disused platform at Holborn Station to test its suitability for temperature reduction on the Bakerloo, Central, Jubilee, North, Piccadilly, Victoria and Waterloo and City lines.

How is a cooling pad different from a conventional air conditioner?

Due to the limitations of deep pipe platforms, conventional air conditioning would be inefficient.

This is because a conventional air conditioner works by removing heat from the environment and releasing it outside.

Due to the depth of the platforms, there is no way to release this heat other than to adjacent platforms or tunnels.

To prevent this heat from causing problems in other parts of the network, instead of removing excess heat from the platforms, chilled water is used to pump cold water through the panels.

The station air is then blown through these panels and cooled by water temperature.

“This groundbreaking test is taking place as we see record high temperatures,” said Paul Judge, project director for TfL’s Piccadilly line modernization project.

“This new technology can play an important role in ensuring that we do our best to protect the TfL network from future temperature rises, helping to keep employees and customers safe and comfortable.”

Lowering temperatures on deep subway lines has been difficult in the past, as traditional cooling systems have proven prohibitively expensive and difficult to install in 120-year-old tunnels and stations.

The aim of the new cooling pads is to significantly outperform the existing platform air handling units currently installed at some stations in the Deep Tube network.

According to TfL, initial results show that the new cooling panels are much better suited to the unique conditions of deep pipe.

If the tests on the abandoned platform in Holborn are successful, TfL’s next step will be to test the panel at Knightsbridge station, which is open to customers.

The panels could then potentially be installed at four additional stations on the Piccadilly Line – Green Park, Holborn, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.

The Piccadilly line was chosen for this test because when new air-conditioned trains with walk-through cars are introduced to the line from 2025, the current fleet will be gradually phased out and train frequency during peak hours will increase from 24 to 27 trains per hour from mid 2027.

That’s one train every 135 seconds during peak hours, representing a 23% increase in peak capacity.

TfL hopes to eventually re-signal the entire line, meaning it could increase the frequency of trains on the Piccadilly line to 33 and then 36 trains per hour.

According to the TfL model, it is at this point that additional cooling will be required at five stations on the Piccadilly Line.

“The cooling pad project supports the upgrade of the Piccadilly line, in which new modern trains with more space, air conditioning, walk-through cars and improved accessibility will run on the line with greater frequency,” said Mr. Judge.

“By finding innovative platform cooling solutions on the Deep Tube network, we can support the future increase in train frequency on the Piccadilly Line, with the possibility of using this technology on other subway lines.”

In recent lab testing of a prototype cooling pad, a reduction in air temperature of 10 to 15°C (18 to 27°F) in the vicinity of the pad was achieved.  Now TfL wants to see if this can be replicated on an abandoned platform in Holborn that mimics the live environment these panels will run in.

In recent lab testing of a prototype cooling pad, a reduction in air temperature of 10 to 15°C (18 to 27°F) in the vicinity of the pad was achieved. Now TfL wants to see if this can be replicated on an abandoned platform in Holborn that mimics the live environment these panels will run in.

What cooling is on Tube now?

Currently, 192 air-conditioned metro trains cover 40 percent of the metro network, and improved tunnel ventilation systems have been installed on the Victoria and Jubilee lines.

All London Overground and Elizabeth trains are air conditioned.

In the older parts of the Tube network, where there are fewer ventilation shafts, TfL has introduced a range of station cooling systems, including industrial-sized fans and cold air chillers.

TfL emphasized that all of these plans depend on receiving long-term funding from the government.

The trial is part of the government’s TIES Living Lab, a collaboration of 25 partners focused on 10 infrastructure projects, data research and digital demonstration projects, one of which is cooling panels.

Designed by TfL and developed by SRC Infrastructure, the cooling pad project was 70 percent funded by the UK Department for Transport and Innovation.

However, advancing the trial elsewhere ultimately depends on TfL having sufficient long-term capital funding.

Officials have until July 28 to agree on a new funding agreement with the Department of Transportation following a second short-term extension of existing financial assistance earlier this month.

If there is no additional investment, only projects that are already underway or those that must comply with safety and other legal requirements will continue, which means no new investment from TfL in the transport network.

This would mean that while the new Piccadilly trains currently on order will be completed, any new order for Bakerloo and Central Line trains to replace the aging fleet will be delayed by another 10 years, until at least 2040. of the year.

Currently, 192 air-conditioned metro trains cover 40 percent of the metro network, and improved tunnel ventilation systems have been installed on the Victoria and Jubilee lines.

All London Overground and Elizabeth trains are air conditioned.

In the older parts of the Tube network, where there are fewer ventilation shafts, TfL has introduced a range of station cooling systems, including industrial-sized fans and cold air chillers.

MORE BILLIONS WILL BE NEEDED TO ACCESS AIR CONDITIONING AS EXTREME HEATER TAKES

As extreme heat ravages the US, Europe and Africa, killing thousands, scientists warn the worst is yet to come.

As countries continue to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, experts warn that the sweltering temperatures this summer could seem mild in 30 years.

Air conditioning, a technology that many in the world’s richest countries take for granted, is a lifesaver during a heat wave.

However, only about 8 percent of the 2.8 billion people living in the hottest – and often poorest – parts of the world currently have it in their homes.

In a recent article, the group Harvard researchers modeled the future demand for air conditioners as the number of days of extreme heat increases around the world.

They found a huge gap between current air conditioning capabilities and what it will take to save lives by 2050, especially in low-income and developing countries.

Researchers have calculated that by 2050, on average, at least 70% of the population in several countries will need air conditioning if emissions continue to rise, and in equatorial countries such as India and Indonesia, this number will be even higher.

Even if the world meets the emission thresholds set by the Paris climate accords, which it has not yet, on average 40 to 50 percent of the population in many of the world’s warmest countries will still need air conditioning. .