Watch out, Londoners
The next planned upgrade phase for the Northern and Jubilee lines on London Underground has been cancelled. These plans – properly costed and originally said to be vital to the success of the network – involve buying more trains to increase capacity.
Now, officially, these plans have been put on hold. They have, publicly, and in the euphemism employed by London Underground, been ‘paused’. But senior managers admit, privately, that the project has been ‘disbanded’.
Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on London Underground, said: ‘It is deeply disappointing and looks like a classic example of making medium-term savings that damage the long-term ability of the Tube to cope with London’s growth. As TfL board papers make clear, any delays to this project weaken the business case and make outright cancellation more likely.
‘This upgrade was to involve the purchase of 17 additional trains so the Northern line could run a 30 trains per hour service on all branches of the line. The Jubilee line would have had 10 new trains to operate a 36 TPH service.
‘The Northern line is one of the most overcrowded parts of the Underground and passenger demand is projected to grow by a further 25 per cent by 2023. Without new trains, overcrowding will get worse and worse and the Northern line risks returning to the days when it was known to millions of Londoners as the “misery line”.
‘The removal of London Underground’s operating subsidy by then Chancellor George Osborne and the continued government squeeze on TfL’s budget is now having a devastating impact on future investment. Short term savings damage the long term future of the Underground and risk the prosperity of our city.
‘London Underground cannot afford to return to the decades of stop start investment that did so much damage in the past. If we are to have a safe and efficient public transport system, these cuts need to be reversed.’