This week we visited Transport for London (TFL), a site visit in which I participated in as a site lead. As a site lead I was responsible for creating a presentation outlining how Transport for London operates to show to my class, and facilitating some questions to be asked when we arrived.
The presentation was with a partner, and my Partner Hannah covered a lot of the history and the early beginnings of public transit around London.
In my part of the presentation, which focused on Transport for London from 1975 to the present, I chose to focus a lot of what I talked about on the new Elizabeth line that just opened. For those who are unfamiliar, the Elizabeth line is a technical marvel that runs East to West across the entire city of London. The concept for a direct East to West line to connect the city began over a Century ago and is just coming true now. The project cost 18 billion dollars and is a technological marvel. I personally choose to take it to work every day because it is so smooth and fast.
I also presented on the current structure of TFL, which is a publicly controlled entity. They were formerly a large number of private corporations, but they have combined, and the final arm of privately owned rail (the DLR section) was bought up in the early 2000’s.
I speak for myself and many of my classmates when saying that we all had an amazing time at the site visit. We arrived at the TFL headquarters and were immediately greeted with some Elizabeth line banners which really showcased how proud they are of the new Elizabeth line. After getting checked in and cleared through security we proceeded up to their floor near the top of the building. Once up top we got to meet with Andy Lord, the COO of Transport for London. We were lucky enough to have a connection with him through Professor Pomeroy who teaches at Pitt, so thank you Professor Pomeroy! Andy was amazing and he brought us through a presentation about Transport for London and their operations. His knowledge of the entire organization was amazing, and I really enjoyed learning about TFL from him.
After meeting and talking with Andy we transitioned to go view the control rooms at TFL. We went down a few floors and upon arrival were led into a control room for the entire London Underground. We were behind a screen for a bit, until someone hit the button to transition the window and turn it clear, which was incredible. In this room we learned about the control room of the entire London Underground and how important it is. The people working here have mere seconds to make decisions about trains, and their decisions tend to have massive ripple effects throughout the entire underground and transport in the entire city of London.
After viewing the control room for the underground trains, we went down to see the control room for the roads in London. That was just as cool and seeing both control rooms was an amazing experience. The amount of behind the scenes work that goes into transport in London is incredible, and something that I will appreciate for the rest of the time I am here.
Unfortunately this time around I was unable to get any pictures, the control room is sensitive and we did not want to disturb that, but I can assure you it was still an amazing time.