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Thursday, 26 March 2015

Tube fiasco prompts fear that signal upgrade will miss 2018 deadline

Tube fiasco prompts fear that signal upgrade will miss 2018 deadline

Fears that London Underground upgrade will miss 2018 deadline

Costly: taxpayers will foot the bill after delays to a Tube upgrade programme (Picture: EPA/ANDY RAIN)




The collapse of a major Tube signalling contract has left taxpayers facing a bill of at least an extra £100 million.
The programme was halted last month after Bombardier told London Underground the task of fitting new signals to some of the oldest lines on the network was too complex.
In 2011, the Canadian firm had signed a deal for £354 million to do the work. It will be paid £85 million of that for the work it completed before it withdrew from the project.
But the remainder of the contract has just been re-advertised — for between £450 million and £600 million.
London Underground said these prices were a broad estimate and the lowest end of the range could partly be attributed to inflation since the original tender in 2008. But this still leaves taxpayers exposed to a rise of at least £100 million, taking into account what Bombardier have already been paid.
The withdrawal of Bombardier — which LU announced on New Year’s Eve — is embarrassing for both sides as the firm is in the frame to win a £1 billion contract for Crossrail trains, which will be awarded shortly.
It has also prompted concerns that work to install new signals on the Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan, Circle and District lines will now fail to hit the 2018 deadline for completion.
The project was to have emulated the success of new signals installed by Siemens on the Victoria line, which now boasts Europe’s highest-capacity subway service at morning peak.
LU and its capital programmes director, David Waboso, today faced calls for the fiasco to be investigated by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee.
Tony Travers, director of the Greater London Group at the London School of Economics said: “It is clear a lot of money will have been spent on a contract that has been terminated. The big question is who pays — Transport for London or Bombardier? Farepayers and the Government might also wonder why the new contract is so much more expensive than the previous one.
Quietly announcing it between Christmas and the new year is worthy of [TV satire] The Thick Of It.” He said an inquiry should also grill the Department for Transport, which funds TfL’s capital projects.
Bombardier quit the signalling contract having built the control centre for about £85 million. It has already supplied 191 new S-Class trains for the same lines. But it concluded its CityFlo650 signalling system, used in Madrid, could not work for Tube “sub-surface” lines which are among the network’s oldest, with myriad junctions.
However, TfL had given reassurances last January that the system was compatible with the Tube. In June it admitted the project was running behind schedule and Bombardier said it would miss milestones to test the kit.
Roger Ford, of Modern Railways magazine, said: “The price TfL is quoting is significantly more than Bombardier and that reflects the complexity of the project. A year ago LU were saying they had confidence with Bombardier so for the deal to collapse so quickly is very strange and raises questions about TfL’s project management practices.”
The contract is to be re-awarded in March, with Siemens and Thales favourites. Mr Waboso said: “The price range is an estimate, at a very early stage. The range broadly reflects the original procurement range plus inflation. The exact figure will not be known until a deal is reached later in the year.

Re-letting this contract is right. It was clear the previous contract would not have delivered in the time required.”

Grand Juries at Telford: What Next? | UK Column

Grand Juries at Telford: What Next? | UK Column

Demand Public Railways Now!

Demand Public Railways Now!

Bring Back British Rail

Thanks to all the brilliant Bring Back British Rail supporters who donated to our fundraising campaign in February, we are now gearing up for our second Day of Action for Public Ownership of Our Railways onWednesday 1 April 2015, to mark the start of the General Election campaign.

WAYS TO GET INVOLVED:

① Join the Re-nationalise ScotRail online action
If you use Facebook or Twitter, please join the online action we’re coordinating to protest the handover of Scotland’s railways to the Dutch state-owned operator Abellio on 1 April 2015. Sign-up via Thunderclap so that the 'Re-nationalise ScotRail' message goes out in unison on 11:30am on the day:http://thndr.it/1aZBSYi

② Join the Protest Against Privatisation at your local railway station
April Fools' Day also marks 21 years since the shambolic privatisation of our once world-class railways, which now wastes £1.2billion of taxpayers' money every year. Bring Back British Rail is working with TSSA & Campaign against Climate Change to coordinate protests up-and-down the country calling for public ownership now! See the Facebook event for details of how to get involved:https://www.facebook.com/events/1578579345761156

You can order bulk leaflets by emailing Ricky Jones at: jonesr@tssa.org.uk
Or print your own Bring Back British Rail placards here:
www.bringbackbritishrail.org/materials/placard-blue.pdf
www.bringbackbritishrail.org/materials/placard-red.pdf

Both the actions above take place as part of the 48 Hours of Action for Public Ownership (on 31 March - 1 April) supported by Action For Rail, People's Assembly Against Austerity, We Own It and other groups around the country.