The trains will be built to be fully automatic, but there will be operators aboard them when they first enter service starting in 2022, London Underground reported. (Transport for London photo)

New London Subway Trains to Be Fully Automatic

The design for 250 new trains has been selected. They;ll be in service from the mid-2020s but will have an operator on board when they first enter service, Transport for London reported.

London Mayor Boris Johnson and London Underground revealed the design for what they're calling the "New Tube for London," which are Underground trains that will come into service from the mid-2020s. They will be capable of fully automatic operation but will have an operator on board when they first enter service, Transport for London reported.

London Underground will buy 250 new trains in this design and has released the shortlist of companies seeking the bid, which London Underground estimates will cost between $1.6 billion and $4 billion (U.S. dollars). The companies are Alstom, Siemens, Hitachi, CAF, and Bombardier. The trains should be in service for more than 40 years, according to TfL.

London Underground expected to award the contract to build them in 2016.

"The faster, more frequent, and more reliable services it will enable will help us keep pace with London's growing population," said Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground. "The design respects the past but also looks to the future with the very latest technology, including walk-through carriages and wider doors to enable people to get on and off quickly, and air-cooling for the first time on the deep-level lines. Londoners are already seeing huge improvements on the Tube network, with faster and more frequent journeys on the Jubilee and Victoria lines, the modernization of the Northern line nearing completion this year, and new walk-through, air-cooled trains on the Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, and part of the District lines. The New Tube will take the improvements to the next level."

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