New trains and tunnels for the Jubilee Line extension
A GEC Alsthom case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Every ten years, a full census is carried out by the Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys. The last one was in 1991. Information from this source over a time scale across a region would identify clear trends in the location of businesses and population. For example:

  • a decline in the number of people living in a particular inner-city area;
  • an increase in the number of people living in a suburban area where a new estate has been located;
  • changes in the nature and type of business in different parts of the region.

Gec Alsthom 2 Image 1One area which has changed beyond all recognition over recent years is that of London’s Docklands. Docklands comprises some eight square miles of land to the east of the City. Where population movements or major business developments take place, it is important that they are accompanied by infrastructure projects which are designed to provide the area with transport and communication services. No area can survive in a fast-changing world in the long-term without good transport services.

To support the development of Docklands and provide wider benefits to London, London Underground is in the process of extending the Jubilee Line, 16 kilometres from Central London to East London. This is currently the largest construction project in Europe which, in its wake, is adding 11 stations to the line and crossing the River Thames four times. The route of the Extension through South East London, Docklands, the Greenwich peninsula and on to Stratford will connect areas of London to the Underground network for the first time. It is a massive project, being the largest addition to the Underground for over 25 years. The Extension will provide many benefits for both local residents and businesses and the link to central London, a journey of less than 25 minutes, will help the overall rejuvenation of an area south of the Thames that as little as 10 years ago had been considered by many as undesirable.

Construction projects

The Jubilee Line Extension challenges the boundaries of past construction projects across the world and inevitably leads to new technological advances, particularly in the fields of electrical and mechanical engineering. Though it is possible to describe construction work for the Jubilee Line Extension as a form of ‘job production’, with all of the construction and development work focused upon a single project, it is also important to think of it being comprised as not just one but many hundreds of specialist project teams working on a range of contracts all designed to ensure that when the Extension opens in March 1998 the jigsaw will be complete. Passengers will then be supplied with the services they expect from the London Underground into and beyond the start of the 21st century.

There are many hundreds of contracts taking place for the Jubilee Line Extension Project. This case study focuses upon one of the key projects - Contract 201 – which involves the development of the most advanced rolling stock from existing technologies. The contract was placed in 1994 with GEC ALSTHOMs Metro Cammell subsidiary for the supply of 59 trains comprising 354 cars and is due for delivery before the end of December 1997 as the new line has to be fully operational by March 1998.

Jointly owned by The General Electric Company Plc. and Alcatel Alsthom, GEC ALSTHOM is a world leader in energy and rail transport. From its strong European base, where over half of its manufacturing plants are located, the company is well established internationally with around 83,000 employees in 36 countries. Over 40 per cent of its total sales of about 9 billion ECU are achieved outside Europe. The Company operates through five Divisions, each providing a full design, supply, commissioning and after-sales support service. The Divisions are:

  • Power Generation
  • Power Transmission and Distribution
  • Transport
  • Industrial Equipment
  • Marine Equipment.

The Transport Division of GEC ALSTHOM (which includes Metro Cammell) manufactures a complete range of railway equipment. It offers a comprehensive project management service which includes design and build contracts with products such as high speed trains, electric and diesel locomotives, metros, light rail systems and coaches as well as signalling packages. Metro Cammell has been based in Birmingham for 151 years. The company designs and manufactures high speed trains, rapid transit carriages, metros, underground trains and passenger trains for customers throughout the world. Metro Cammell offers complete design and assembly solutions or an assembly and drawing facility. Electrical testing and train verification activities are carried out within the company before products are delivered for commissioning to the customers operating site.

GEC Alsthom | New trains and tunnels for the Jubilee Line extension