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Kiley delays choice on preferred Tube bidders

BIDDERS FOR London's £12bn Tube upgrade were preparing to downsize their project teams this week because of an expected two month delay in the choice of preferred bidders.

London Transport commissioner Bob Kiley told bidders last Friday that a decision on the winners would not be made until March at the earliest.

Short listed bidders have all submitted best and final offers for one or more of the three Tube contracts. But the project was thrown into confusion earlier this month when deputy prime minister John Prescott announced that he was putting Kiley in charge of the project, allowing him to modify contract terms (News last week).

Kiley also confirmed that he was likely to ask them to rebid, as he wanted to change the contract terms to give him greater control over the contracts.

But the scope of the changes and work entailed are not expected to be revealed until the end of February.

In response, scaling down procedures have already begun within the consortia teams.

One bidder said that many of its team were taking time off this month. He said: 'It's such a shame to lose the momentum. A lot of very bright minds have worked on this project for years.

'We should be working with London Underground towards a smooth transition, but we're just sitting here wondering what's going to be brokered. It's very depressing.'

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