Tubelines announces it is building a rainwater harvest system to be in use by June

A rainwater harvest system is being constructed in London to reduce reliance on the mains water to clean Piccadilly line tube trains.

Train being washed

Tubelines estimates that by using rainwater to clean its 86 trains it can reduce its CO2 emissions by up to 1 tonne each year, the equivalent to a train travelling end to end on the 73km long Piccadilly line 230 times.

The company says the move, which involves installing a rainwater harvest system to collect water from the roof of the lifting and examination shed at the Cockfosters depot, is in response to increased risk of water shortages.

The system is currently being installed and will be in use by early June.

Every day Tube Lines puts 27 of its 86 Piccadilly line trains through the train wash, using an average of 187m3 of water each month.

Tube Lines has set itself a business target to reduce its carbon footprint by 5,000 tonnes of CO2 by the end of 2008.

If the rainwater harvest system proves successful Tube Lines will look to install similar systems on its other two lines – the Jubilee and Northern lines.

Ray Mansell, head of operations for health, safety and environment at Tube Lines, said:

“This is a really exciting development and the first to be introduced on the London Underground. We cannot ignore the climate trend analysis which shows that summers are getting hotter. If this is the case, more drought order restrictions will be put in place and yet we will still be required to keep our trains clean for passengers. The rainwater harvest system is the perfect solution. It’s altogether better for the environment and will enable us to keep trains clean even in drought conditions.”