Opened over 150 years ago and carrying more than a billion passengers a year the London Underground is a form of transport we take for granted when moving around the capital city.
But have you ever stopped to consider how, where and when these vehicles are maintained to meet this high demand and keep them in perfect working order?
The when element is easy to explain, it’s a 24/7 operation for Transport for London (TfL).
Where is carried out at a number of key sites throughout the underground network. Depots including Ealing Common and Upminster play crucial roles in keeping the hundreds of rolling stock units moving and their strategic locations ensure all lines are catered for.
The how element is where Planet Platforms comes into the picture.
Working on the front, sides and roofs of tube stock in a depot environment presents some challenges.
Firstly, there may be a platform present in which case operatives work along the side of the carriage and very much as you would in a station environment. However, where access is also needed to the underneath of the trains the platforms are simply not present. This means access to the carriages is 2m above floor level and a completely different solution is needed.
Working with TfL and its partners Planet came up with a number of designs to overcome these very different situations. For front end access we designed a rail mounted platform complete with fibreglass podium to reach the slightly higher services. For side access we designed units that could work individually or linked together depending upon the vehicle type and of varying heights that accounted for the variances in access height.
Manufactured from lightweight aluminium and set on triple-wheeled castors made the units easy to move around
So the next time you step onto the platform on your way to watch the latest West End show Planet Platforms will have played a hand in getting you there.