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Bond idea is agent of change to underground


Bob Kiley will be good news for London Underground (NCE 11 January) if he is able to press home the case for a bond issue instead of John Prescott's PPP initiative.

Much of the current underground network is well over 100 years old and serious infrastructure problems and structural weaknesses must be anticipated in the coming 20 years. Additionally, there will be an ongoing process of raising the standard of the network up to that of the Jubilee Line Extension.

This will not be achieved without having some over capacity in the system. This will anticipate growth in Underground commuting but also some loss of capacity as the older parts are closed for repair.

No-one can imagine London without the Victoria Line or Jubilee Line south of Baker Street - the two significant post war developments of the network. London needs yet more new underground lines like these to prevent and reduce the intolerable overcrowding already inherent in the existing system.

But modernisation of existing lines cannot be allowed to fight for cash with the construction of new lines. This should be funded through the issue of bonds, while the PPP and new management provide the projects necessary to support the existing network.

After all, the original system was developed by separate companies funding, constructing and operating new railways.

David Williams, Bermondsey

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