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Urban mobility: Knorr-Bremse wins major entrance systems order for Siemens Mobility’s new London Underground trains

August 03, 2020

  • Knorr-Bremse and Siemens Mobility sign agreement to supply entrance systems for 94 London Underground trains
  • The agreement includes options to supply over 9,000 additional door systems for a further 216 trains by 2030
  • From mid-2021, Knorr-Bremse subsidiary IFE will supply 3,760 door systems for the London Piccadilly line
  • The order with a value in the mid-double-digit million-euro range is the largest in IFE’s history

Knorr-Bremse, the global market leader for braking and other systems for rail and commercial vehicles, has won a major, middle double-digit million-euro order to supply entrance systems to Siemens Mobility. Knorr-Bremse subsidiary IFE, the global market leader for rail vehicle entrance systems, will supply 3,760 door systems for 94 trains on the Piccadilly line operated by London Underground. With the overall demand for public transportation expected to rise over the next years, Knorr-Bremse and IFE will be making a key contribution to dependable urban mobility for the people of London.

  • Knorr-Bremse subsidiary IFE will supply door systems for 94 trains on the Piccadilly line operated by London Underground Ltd. (design blueprint). | © Transport for London

  • The compelling IFE door exhibit at InnoTrans 2016. | © Knorr-Bremse

  • An IFE door at the validation stage. | © IFE

“By supplying our entrance technology to the London Underground’s world-famous Piccadilly line, we are helping to meet Londoners’ growing mobility requirements and helping to deliver faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys,” says Dr. Jürgen Wilder, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG and responsible for the Rail Vehicle Systems division.

“The order also cements the presence of our highly innovative door systems in London’s rail transportation system, where they are already in use in LRVs, regional multiple units and high-speed trains.”

“We are delighted that our hard work in preparing the bid convinced our customers at Siemens Mobility of our know-how as technology leaders, allowing us to win the largest order in IFE’s history,” adds Oliver Schmidt, Chairman of the Management Board of Knorr-Bremse GmbH Austria and responsible for Knorr-Bremse’s global entrance systems business.

“This is the first time that we will be supplying doors for the Tube. The tunnel and vehicle profiles make this a really exciting challenge.”

The order is for 3,760 door systems – comprising 3,760 door drives and 7,144 door leaves –for 94 nine-car Siemens Mobility Inspiro trains. The IFE entrance systems will arrive on London’s dark blue Piccadilly line, which has 53 stations and a total length of over 70km, from 2024.

IFE will work closely with Siemens Mobility to maximize UK content and service provision.

Generally, IFE will continue to expand its services and local footprint, particularly in the Greater London area, to support the introduction and smooth running of the door systems on the new train fleet.

This will support Siemens Mobility and Transport for London’s ambitions to create significant numbers of UK jobs aligned to the Deep Tube Upgrade Programme, which includes the development of a new Siemens Mobility rail manufacturing site in the UK.

Sambit Banerjee, UK Managing Director Rolling Stock and Customer Service for Siemens Mobility, said: “These next generation Tube trains will provide a step change in passenger experience for those traveling on the Piccadilly line.

Key to providing an increased frequency of trains, and therefore greatly improved capacity, is the ability to get on and off the train quickly meaning less congestion on the station platform. We are delighted that Knorr-Bremse and IFE will be our partners in helping make this a reality.”

The most challenging aspects of the Piccadilly line upgrade project include the unusually pronounced curvature of the door leaves that allows them to fit inside the narrow, tube-shaped tunnels – a unique feature of the world’s oldest metro system – combined with tight deadlines.

IFE first signaled its interest in the project as long ago as 2016, when it presented an entrance system designed for limited space applications at the rail industry’s leading trade show, InnoTrans.

“The order demonstrates that IFE’s products can satisfy the special requirements of the London Underground,” confirms Dr. Peter Radina, Member of the Management Board of Knorr-Bremse Rail Vehicle Systems.

“This win for Knorr-Bremse and IFE evidences the confidence that our engineering and systems competence inspires in our customers.”

Although the external sliding doors and spindle drives feature an individual design tailored to the customer’s specifications, they also use tried-and-tested components.

Generally, they will serve the goal of increasing the capacity of the Tube lines on which the new trains will be deployed. Engineered to last at least 40 years, the door leaves will also make a significant contribution to holistic rail vehicle lifecycle management.

The middle double-digit million-euro order for the Piccadilly line project is the largest in Knorr-Bremse subsidiary IFE’s history. The agreement also includes options to supply over 9,000 additional passenger and driver’s cab entrance systems for a further 216 trains destined for other Tube lines.


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