TfL Tests New Cooling System on London’s Tube Network

Transport for London (TfL) is trialling a cooling panel solution to reduce platform and tunnel temperatures at deep Tube stations.

The new system is being tested on a disused platform at Holborn station to lower surrounding air temperatures.

This solution responds to the UK’s recent heatwave, while also preparing for the potential of rising temperatures when service frequency increases on the Piccadilly line from mid-2027. This capacity upgrade will be enabled by a new fleet of trains, which are scheduled to gradually enter service from 2025.

Tube Cooling
The cooling panel works by circulating cold water around pipework within a curved metal structure to chill it

Following this trial, TfL intends to install the panels at five stations on the Piccadilly line. If funding is available, TfL will also explore whether the system could be implemented on other deep Tube lines in the future.

Paul Judge, TfL's Project Director for the Piccadilly Line Upgrade, said:

“This innovative trial is taking place as we are experiencing record high temperatures. This new technology could play an important role in ensuring we are doing everything we can to protect TfL's network against future temperature increases, helping to keep staff and customers safe and comfortable.

“By seeking innovative solutions to cool platforms on the deep Tube network, we will be able to support future Piccadilly line train frequency increases with the possibility that the technology could be used on other Underground lines.”

The new cooling panels circulate cold water around a curved metal structure. The system then circulates and cools the surrounding air using an industrial-sized fan.

This solution is expected to significantly out-perform the network’s existing platform air-handling units. In recent tests on a prototype in a lab environment, the panel reduced surrounding air temperatures by 10–15 degrees.

Furthermore, compared to existing technology, the new panels could halve operational and maintenance costs.

The convection cooling solution has been designed by TfL and developed by SRC Infrastructure. The project was 70 percent funded by the Department for Transport and Innovate UK as part of the Government’s TIES Living Lab programme.

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