03 August 2006

Any old iron? Disused tube carriages being turned into studio space

Tube Lines, London Underground and Village Underground co-operate on the ultimate recycling project

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A new charity is helping Tube Lines, the company responsible for rebuilding the Tube’s busiest lines, to recycle obsolete Tube carriages which have been lying disused for years. Over the weekend six old Jubilee line carriages were removed from sidings in Uxbridge and taken for cleaning up before being turned into workspace for start-up creative businesses by Village Underground, a new charity which supports new small companies.

Typically carriages which no longer serve the travelling public are taken to pieces, the metals separated and the various parts disposed of, some into landfill. In the past there has been little demand for reusing them by converting them into unusual work or play spaces but Tom Foxcroft, who has set up Village Underground and approached Tube Lines about recycling carriages, has identified a use which benefits the environment and community.

Tom Foxcroft, Director at Village Underground, said:

“The idea came from my own experience as a designer trying to start a small practice with friends – we just couldn’t get a foot on the ladder because of the price of studio and workspace….so I designed my own.”

Building on Tube Lines’ ISO14001 accreditation, the company is welcoming the opportunity to further boost its recycling programme, one of the many ways to reduce the impact on the environment while rebuilding the Underground.

Julie Pottier, who organised for the carriages to be recycled on behalf of Tube Lines, said:

“It’s great that we can put these old carriages to good use, benefiting local people and saving the environment a little. We’re keen to find more ways of avoiding waste so if other people or organisations have ideas, we’d love to hear from them.”

The carriages are being taken to Essex to be cleaned up and prepared for their conversion and will then be transported to their final destination of Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, on 13 August.

For further information, photos of the carriages being removed or an artist’s impression of the final offices please contact:

Sarah Baranowski, Tube Lines 020 7088 4848/07764 429 015
Tom Foxcroft, Village Underground 07886 751 205

Notes to Editors

  1. During his research for Village Underground, Tom Foxcroft found examples around the world of carriages already being used beyond the railway: restaurants, bars, hotels, children’s play houses, guest rooms, studios and even a pig pen!
  2. Village Underground is a social enterprise project set up to provide cheap studio space for young people aiding them to set up creative business, organisations and practices. It also contributes to local regeneration and benefits the community with activities and events of an artistic and cultural nature.
  3. Tube Lines is responsible for the maintenance and upgrade of the infrastructure on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.  London Underground is responsible for operating the Underground, for employing drivers and station staff, for ticketing and fares, and for the Tube’s safety regime.
  4. The Tube Lines consortium consists of two shareholders – Amey and Bechtel. They bring together some of the most experienced providers of business services with specialist skills in the rail industry, including track and signal renewals, plus project and operational management.  They are providing some of the best project and operational managers from around the world to work on the modernisation of the Tube system. Amey owns two-thirds of Tube Lines’ business and Bechtel one third.

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