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Date set for Metronet transfer to TfL

Failed tube upgrade contractor Metronet will be absorbed by Transport for London on Tuesday 27 May, it was announced today.

At a hearing under Mr Justice Patten in Liverpool this morning, PPP administrators Ernst&Young presented their proposals for transferring the two Metronet companies to Transport for London.

Mr Justice Patten approved the plans and has set a date - Tuesday 27 May - for the transfer.

The transfer will take Metronet out of administration.

London Underground Managing Director Tim O’Toole said: "We are now in the final stages of removing Metronet from Administration, which is a major achievement and extremely good news for London’s Tube passengers. Metronet will transfer to Transport for London next week.

"In dealing with the collapse of Metronet, and through the Administration process, there have been two key priorities. First, to ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of the Tube network for passengers. That has been achieved and I would like to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication shown by all Metronet and London Underground staff, as well as the PPP Administrators.

"Secondly, following Administration, we will seek to put in place a stable, economic and efficient structure that is better able to deliver Transport for London’s investment priorities leading to increased capacity on the Tube in future, along with station, security, communications and accessibility improvements.

"The transfer to Transport for London control will enable us to further restructure and properly plan for the future," he said.

Andie Harper, Chief Executive of Metronet Rail since November 2007 will continue in this role following the transfer. Andie Harper will report to London Underground Managing Director Tim O’Toole.

Alan Bloom, PPP administrator said: "A dedicated team from Ernst & Young has worked with Metronet over the past ten months to ensure the business ran successfully during the PPP administration process.

"The fact we have now been granted a date for transfer is fantastic news for all involved and a major step in the restructuring of this important infrastructure management company which provides an essential service to all Londoners."

The two Metronet companies will transfer into two separate businesses within TfL, but continue to trade as Metronet Rail BCV (upgrading the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines), and Metronet Rail SSL (upgrading the Circle, District, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines).

In a letter to suppliers, Bloom made assurances that purchase orders and contracts made before his appointment as PPP administrator would be honoured - business will be as usual, and debts incurred by the Metronet companies will now be met by TfL.

However, Metronet employees may be in for a rough ride when they arrive at Transport for London on Tuesday. London's new Mayor Boris Johnson has appointed private equity chief Tim Parker, known in business circles as 'The Axeman' as chairman of Transport for London, taking-up his post on June 7.

RMT union general secretary Bob Crow said, "Tim Parker has a reputation as a private-equity asset-stripper and has been dubbed the Prince of Darkness by unions that have encountered his methods in the past.

"We are well aware of his track record, and Mr Parker has the opportunity to leave that reputation behind him when he starts work for the Mayor of London.

"The world's finest metro system does not need an asset-stripper or a Prince of Darkness, but it does need its modernisation programme put back on track if it is to be ready for the 2012 Olympics.

"Tube users and workers have already had more than a bellyful of privatisation with the huge waste and failure of the PPP and the collapse of Metronet.

"The Tube needs public investment to improve it for Londoners and the restoration of Metronet's contracts to public control will be a massive step along the right road," he said.

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