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JLE sets opening for spring 1999

LONDON UNDERGROUND confirmed this week that the £2.75bn Jubilee Line Extension will not now open in September 1998.

Instead the new line is due to open in spring 1999 - making the project over a year late and around £650M over budget.

Announcing the delay, London Underground tried to calm fears of the Millennium Dome organisers by promising that the line would definitely be ready in time for the Greenwich event.

Project director Hugh Doherty explained that the decision followed a recent review carried out by management consultant PA Consulting showing that getting the troubled signalling system operating by September was unrealistic - even partially, as previously planned.

Doherty confirmed that problems continued to dog the high-tech software- driven moving block signalling. This will not even be in place for the spring 1999 opening. But he said that the modified temporary signals would achieve 24 trains an hour, and added: 'Even with a moving block system we do not anticipate demand will exceed this.'

Work to complete the project's infrastructure, Doherty said, was pressing on and should be completely finished from Green Park to Stratford by January, despite recent on-going labour disputes with electricians.

'Contractors still have to keep hammering on,' he said. 'We aren't going to pay them to stay there longer than they have to.'

Antony Oliver

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