London Underground 1973 Stock

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1973 Stock
1973 Stock at Acton Town.jpg
A Piccadilly Line 1973 Stock at Acton Town
LU1973 Refurbished Interior.jpg
The refurbished interior of a 1973 Tube Stock
In service 1975 – present
Manufacturer Metro Cammell
(now Alstom)[1]
Built at Birmingham, England[1]
Replaced 1959 stock
Constructed 1974 – 1977[1]
Refurbishment Bombardier Transportation
1996 – 2001[1]
Formation 6 cars per trainset
Capacity 684 per trainset[1]
Line(s) served Piccadilly
Train length 106.810 m (350 ft 5.1 in)
Car length DM 17.473 m (57 ft 3.9 in)
UNDM/T 17.676 m (57 ft 11.9 in)
Width 2.629 m (8 ft 7.5 in)
Height 2.888 m (9 ft 5.7 in)
Weight DM 27.15 long tons (27.59 t; 30.41 short tons)
UNDM 26.16 long tons (26.58 t; 29.30 short tons)
T 18.16 long tons (18.45 t; 20.34 short tons)
Traction system Pneumatic driven camshaft
(GEC Traction)[1]
Traction motors LT118 DC motor
(Brush Traction)[1]
Seating 228 per trainset[1]
Stock type Deep-level tube
Underground sign at Westminster.jpg London transport portal

The London Underground 1973 Stock is a type of rolling stock used on the Piccadilly line of the London Underground. It was introduced into service in 1975 with the extension of the line to Hatton Cross in 1975, followed by a further extension to Heathrow Central in 1977.

The trains were built by Metro Cammell between 1974 and 1977, and were refurbished by Bombardier Transportation between 1995 and 2000. They are the one of the oldest remaining tube trains, in service for 43 years, the other one being the 1972 Stock running on the Bakerloo line.

Construction and entry into service

1973 stock in original livery at Ealing Common

In the early 1970s London Transport placed an order for a new fleet of trains to replace the 1959 stock, the 1938 stock and 1962 stock vehicles which previously operated on the Piccadilly line. Built between 1972 and 1975 by Metro Cammell in Birmingham,[2] the first unit entered service on 19 July 1975 and the last was introduced by 1977.[3] The trains featured longer cars and larger door space than the previous ones, being designed for airport travellers with luggage.[4]

The order was for 87½ 6-car trains, made up of 196 Driving Motor cars (DM's), 175 Trailer cars (T's) and 154 Uncoupling Non-Driving Motor cars (UNDM's). Each train is made up of two 3-car units, and most units are single-ended, formed DM-T-UNDM. There are also 21 double-ended units, formed DM-T-DM, to provide additional flexibility and to operate the Aldwych shuttle (now closed).[5]

The initial order also included two test units equipped with solid state traction equipment and electronic control systems. These were double-ended units 892-692-893 (delivered 1977) and 894-694-895 (delivered 1979), and were known collectively as the ETT (Experimental Tube Train). The first unit was equipped by Westinghouse, the second by GEC. In order to provide additional units for the opening of the Heathrow loop, these units were converted to standard at Acton Works, entering service between 1986 and 1987.[5]

Unit formation and operation

The peak Piccadilly line service requires a total of 79 trains in operation.[6]

The trains are maintained at Cockfosters and Northfields depots.[7]

Like all London Underground trains, the stock operates on a four-rail 630V DC power system.


100 - 253 864 - 897 300 - 453 500 - 696


From 1996 to 2001, the entire fleet was refurbished by Bombardier Transportation in Horbury, Wakefield. The interior was completely remodelled, with changes including the removal of transverse seating, replacement of the original wooden flooring with new floor material, replacement of straphangers with new grab rails, new enclosures for the ceiling ventilation fans, brighter lighting with new diffusers, installation of car-end windows and new perch seats in the centre of the cars, creating more luggage space for airport passengers.[8]

The original unpainted exterior was painted in London Underground's corporate livery, and a new emergency detrainment system was fitted in the cabs. The external destination blinds were also replaced with LCD displays, and these were subsequently replaced with new LED units in 2015.[9]

The final refurbished unit re-entered service on 10 July 2001.[10]

Announcer system

In November 2006, the system was reintroduced with another automated announcer featuring the voice of Julie Berry,[11] with a simultaneous upgrade to the dot matrix displays in the carriages. The driver can select between three settings, including: "commuter", "tourist", and "night". In addition to this, the driver can add extra announcements through a code for example "please stand clear of the doors" or "Let customers off the train first please"

The "Alight" sections include:

These "alights" are not included in the "commuter" setting, or in the "night" setting. The "night" setting will only include connections on the London Underground Night Tube service.

Certain stations include announcements warning of the gap between the train and platform. Interchanges with other London Underground lines and other rail services are also included in announcements, such as Kings Cross St Pancras which includes St Pancras International.

Future replacement

The Deep tube programme (DTP) originally covered the replacement of the trains and signalling on the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines, and had been expanded to cover rolling stock requirements arising from the planned extension of the Northern line to Battersea, the eventual replacement of Central line trains and proposed increased service frequency on the Northern and Jubilee lines. The EVO tube concept design, a lighter articulated train with walk through cars, was introduced early in 2011.[12] In early 2014 the Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Central and Waterloo & City line rolling stock replacement project was renamed New Tube for London (NTfL) and moved from its feasibility stage to the design and specification stage.[13][14] The proposal introduces fully automated trains and signalling to increase capacity first on the Piccadilly line in 2025, followed the Central, Waterloo & City, and Bakerloo lines by 2033. The fully automated trains may not have drivers,[15] however the ASLEF and RMT trade unions that represent the drivers strongly oppose this, saying it would be unsafe.[16]

In June 2018, TfL announced 94 six-carriage Siemens Inspiro sets are to replace the 1973 stock between 2023 and 2026.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Neil, Graham. "London Underground Rolling Stock Information Sheet" (PDF). WhatDoTheyKnow. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Piccadilly line facts". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "London Underground 1973 Tube Stock". TrainWeb. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "1973 tube stock". Square Wheels. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Piccadilly WTT 57 issued 4 Dec 2016
  7. ^ "Key facts". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 29 May 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Griffin, Richard. " - 1973 tube stock". Retrieved 2017-04-15. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Griffin, Richard. " - 1973 tube stock". Retrieved 2017-04-15. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Connor, Piers (January 2013). "Deep tube transformation". Modern Railways. pp. 44–47. 
  13. ^ "New Tube for London Programme" (PDF). Board Minutes. Transport for London. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "New Tube for London Programme". Railway Gazette. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "TfL prepares for driverless tube". Railnews. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  16. ^ "Driverless Tube trains: Unions vow 'war' over plan". BBC News. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  17. ^ Siemens to supply London Underground deep tube fleet Metro Report International 15 June 2018

External links

  • Transport for London - 1973 stock specifications
  • Tubeprune - 1973 Tube Stock
  • London Transport Museum Photographic Archive
    • 1973 Stock train at Oakwood, 1979
    • 1973 Stock 3-car train at Aldwych, 1981
    • End view of 1973 Stock motor car, 1975
    • Interior view of 1973 Stock car, 1975

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