London Underground 1992 Stock

The London Underground 1992 Stock is a type of rolling stock used on the Central line and Waterloo & City line of the London Underground.

London Underground 1992 Stock
A Central line 1992 Stock at Theydon Bois
The interior of a Central line 1992 Stock
In service1993 – present
ManufacturerBritish Rail Engineering Limited (under ABB)[1]
Built atDerby Litchurch Lane Works[1]
ReplacedBritish Rail Class 487
1962 Stock
RefurbishmentWabtec Rail UK
2006 (Waterloo & City trainsets only)[1]
2011 (Central line)
Number built680 cars
Formation4 cars per train (Waterloo & City line)
8 cars per train (Central line)
Capacity930 per trainset (Central Line)
444 per trainset (Waterloo & City)[1]
Line(s) servedCentral
Waterloo & City
Car length16.25 m (53 ft 4 in)
Width2.62 m (8 ft 7 in)
Height2.87 m (9 ft 5 in)
Maximum speed100 km/h (62 mph)
Weight20.5–22.5 tonnes (20.2–22.1 long tons; 22.6–24.8 short tons) (per car)
Traction systemGTO thyristor
(ABB/Brush Traction)[2][1]
Electric system(s)630V DC Fourth rail
BogiesH-frame (Siemens)
Seating272 per trainset (Central Line)
136 per trainset (Waterloo & City)[1]
Stock typeDeep-level tube


The 1992 Stock was built by British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL) (under ABB, later Adtranz and now Bombardier Transportation) for the Central line following extensive testing of the three 1986 tube stock prototype trains.[3] Even so, the introduction of this stock was far from trouble-free and there were many technical teething problems.

Eighty-five trains were ordered from BREL, each formed of four two-car units (two units have driving cabs, the others are fitted with shunting controls).[3] Upon entering service in April 1993, the new units gradually replaced the previous 1962 tube stock, which was finally withdrawn two years later. The trains were manufactured at the Derby Litchurch Lane Works.

The propulsion for the trains was manufactured by a consortium of ABB and Brush Traction,[2] and was one of the first examples of microprocessor-controlled traction featuring a fibre-optic network to connect the different control units. The DC traction motors of LT130 type have separately-excited fields and are controlled via GTO (Gate turn-off) thyristors.[2]

A Wheel Slide Protection (WSP) system was retrofitted due to the fleet suffering an epidemic problem of wheel flats. This was largely due to an excessive number of emergency brake applications caused during the ATO/ATP testing phases.

The 1992 stock's design is reminiscent of the 1986 prototypes. The new 2009 stock trains, built by Bombardier Transport for the Victoria line, are more like the 1992 stock in shape and design than the 1995/1996 stock.

Waterloo & City line sets

After the initial construction run, an additional ten two-car units were built for British Rail for the Waterloo & City line, which until 1994 was part of the national railway network, and became their Class 482. When this line passed to London Underground at the start of the process to privatise British Rail on 1 April 1994, these units also passed to London Underground.[3] The vehicles are essentially identical to those used on the Central line; the main difference being that trip-cocks are used for protection instead of ATO/ATP.

Transport for London and Metronet closed the Waterloo & City line for five months from April to September 2006 to allow major upgrade work on the tunnels and rolling stock. The line's limited access meant that this was the first time that the units had been brought above ground since their introduction 12 years earlier. The refurbishment of the trains saw them painted in the London Underground white, red and blue livery in place of the Network SouthEast colours used since the stock's introduction.


The 1992 stock features both ATO (Automatic Train Operation) and ATP (Automatic Train Protection) which effectively allow the trains to drive themselves. The ATO is responsible for operating the train whilst the ATP detects electronic codes in the track and feeds them to the cab, displaying the target speed limits. This functionality is configured via a switch in the driver's cab which can be set to one of three positions: Automatic, Coded Manual and Restricted Manual.

In Automatic mode the ATO and ATP are both fully operational. The driver is only required to open and close the doors and press both "Start" buttons when the train is ready to depart. The driver is then tasked with overseeing the operation of the system and can intervene at any time. The ATO controls the train to the desired target speed, whilst the ATP is ready to apply the emergency brakes if the Maximum Safe Speed is exceeded.

In Coded Manual mode, the ATO is disabled and the driver operates the train manually, however, the ATP is still detecting the codes in the track and restricting the driver's actions. The speedometer on 1992 stock is of the horizontal strip design showing two speeds: the Current Speed in green, indicating the speed at which the train is actually travelling, and the Target Speed indicating the speed at which the train should be travelling. Although the target speed is always active whilst running in Automatic or Coded Manual mode, in the latter mode a change in the target speed is indicated with an upwards or downwards tone depending on whether the target speed is increasing or decreasing. Should the driver exceed the target speed, an alarm sounds and the emergency brakes are automatically applied until the train is below the target speed; the alarm then stops.

In Restricted Manual mode, the train cannot exceed 18 km/h (11 mph) and the motors automatically cut out at 16 km/h (10 mph). The ATO and ATP are both disabled and the driver operates the train entirely by sight and according to the signals. This mode is used when there has been an ATP or signal failure, or in a depot where ATP is not used, e.g. West Ruislip and Hainault depots. On the main line, driving in ATO is the same for a train driver as driving through a section where signals have failed.

Announcer system

The 1992 Stock was the first of its type on the Underground to have a DVA (Digital Voice Announcer) from new. Until mid-2003, the DVA was voiced by then BBC journalist and presenter Janet Mayo, subsequently nicknamed 'Sonia', as some drivers thought the repetitiveness of the announcements 'gets on ya nerves'.[4]

The original format of the announcements were as follows:

  • Bank, going eastbound to Hainault via Newbury Park:
    "This is Bank. Change for Northern, District and Circle lines, Docklands Light Railway and Network SouthEast services. … This train terminates at Hainault via Newbury Park." (The Waterloo & City line was part of Network SouthEast at the time of the stock's introduction and the original recordings were never revised to reflect the takeover of the line by London Underground in 1994.)
  • Approaching Notting Hill Gate:
    "The next station is Notting Hill Gate. Change for District and Circle lines."

Since mid-2003, voice artist Emma Clarke has provided recordings for the 1992 Stock DVA, which were again revised in 2006. Emma continues to voice the line, despite London Underground allegedly 'sacking' her after an article by the Daily Mail was published in 2007. The article took her words from an interview out of context; saying that she "hated the tube," when in actual fact, she just said that she would not like to be in a tube carriage voiced by herself for self-conscious reasons.[5]

The present format of the announcements is as follows:

  • Bank, going eastbound to Hainault via Newbury Park:
    "This is Bank. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform. Change here for the Circle, District, Northern and Waterloo & City lines, and the DLR. … This is a Central line train to Hainault via Newbury Park."
  • Approaching Notting Hill Gate:
    "The next station is Notting Hill Gate. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform. Change here for the Circle and District lines."

In January 2018, the announcements were again revised for certain stations, to include new lines and connections (such as London Overground, TfL Rail and the construction of Wood Lane station) that did not exist in 2003.

Chancery Lane derailment

On 25 January 2003 a 1992 Stock train with approximately 500 people on board train derailed as it entered Chancery Lane station on the westbound line. The collision resulted in one door being ripped off and a number of broken windows. 32 passengers received minor injuries.[6]

The cause of the derailment was determined to be the detachment of the rearmost traction motor on the fifth car, caused by a gearbox failure. The traction motor was then struck by the remainder of the train as it passed over it, causing the following bogies to derail.[7]

The entire 1992 Stock fleet was withdrawn from service the same afternoon, and the Central and Waterloo & City lines were closed for several weeks until modifications were made. This included fitting new traction-motor bolts and secondary brackets in to prevent a loose motor from striking the track and causing further damage. The lines re-opened in stages from 14 March 2003.[8]


Central line units

The 1992 Stock has had a refresh of both the interior and exterior. Some of the noticeable changes include a new seat moquette, improved lighting and improvements to the window frames. The front of the driving cabs are also being renewed. This includes repairing water ingress and replacing a large number of parts with a much simpler design, saving costs on future work. The new-style front end can be easily identified by the red panelling instead of the original grey. The refresh comes after nearly twenty years of continuous service on the Central line.

Waterloo & City line units

In 2006, the Waterloo & City line was closed for several months to allow for track and signalling upgrade works. During this period, the 1992 Stock units in use on the line were removed by crane from Waterloo depot and taken by road to Wabtec Rail in Doncaster for refurbishment. External changes included repainting the trains, which were still in Network SouthEast livery, into London Underground's corporate livery. Internally, the handrails were repainted from Central line red to Waterloo & City line turquoise, new seat moquette was fitted and CCTV cameras were installed.[9][10]

Future replacement

In October 2014, it was confirmed that the 1992 stock will be replaced by new semi-articulated trains currently known as the 'New Tube for London'. The stock will be used on the Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Central and Waterloo & City lines.[11]


  1. Neil, Graham. "London Underground Rolling Stock Information Sheet" (PDF). WhatDoTheyKnow. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  2. "A-Series EMU Car Review, Paper tabled to WA Parliament" (PDF). Parliament of Western Australia. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  3. "1992". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  4. "1992 tube stock: Sonia". Archived from the original on 14 October 2006. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  6. "Final report" (PDF). RAIB. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 December 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 July 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 July 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Crane removes shut line's trains". BBC News. Archived from the original on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  10. "Waterloo & City Line closes for upgrade". Railway Gazette. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  11. "New Tube for London". Transport for London. October 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
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