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Atkins and Balfour Beatty warned over Metronet failures

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ATKINS, BALFOUR Beatty and other shareholders in Tube contractor Metronet will be publicly blamed for future performance problems by the PPP, Transport for London told NCE this week.

Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy said that he wants to put the reputations of Metronet's shareholders on the line after running out of patience with the company.

Metronet has consistently underperformed since taking responsibility for maintaining two thirds of the Tube network in April 2003. Most recently it was ed £2.2M after speed restrictions were imposed on the District and Circle Lines because the rm failed to carry out routine maintenance (NCE 25 May).

'I want to make sure every body knows that the people actually doing the work are Balfour Beatty, Atkins and the other shareholding companies, ' said Hendy.

'My message is that if they do not deliver, if they continue to do what they are doing now, their reputations will suffer. With the Olympics and Crossrail, we have a lot of work in London in the coming years.

'Would you let someone build [the Olympics] who has not yet built a station on time or cannot put down track on the Metropolitan Line without trains hitting the walls of the tunnels?

'If you can clearly conclude that they haven't got the capacity to do what they said they would do here, then why would you give them another package of work?' he said.

Tube Lines maintains the remaining third of the London Underground network. Its programmes for station and track renewals are on time and it delivered the extra car on the Jubilee Line on time and budget.

'Tube Lines is not perfect but it is letting work to people who are able to do it, ' said Hendy.

He is meeting with the chief executives of all Metronet's shareholders - Atkins, EDF, Balfour Beatty, Bombardier Transportation and Thames Water - to hammer home the message.

Most of the work is carried out by the consortium through three main contracts.

Bombardier Transportation supplies new trains and signalling while Balfour Beatty carries out the majority of track work. Joint venture company Trans4m, carries out civil engineering work and station refurbishment.

Balfour Beatty would not comment on Hendy's remarks directly but said that it was hugely experienced in working on London infrastructure and has an excellent reputation.

Metronet said that in the last year it had hit its targets for track renewals and that it plans to get the station programme back on target within two years.

It added that London mayor Ken Livingstone had recently publicly congratulated Balfour Beatty for delivering the new ticket hall at King's Cross station on time and on budget.

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