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Kiley rails against Tube bidders' falling obligations

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CONTRACT VARIATIONS on the privately financed upgrade of London's Tube will allow preferred bidders to leave the network in a far worse condition than originally expected, London transport commissioner Bob Kiley claimed this week.

In a letter to London Transport chairman Sir Malcom Bates, Kiley said he was angry that under the proposed contracts with Metronet and Tubelines, the condition of assets such as bridges, viaducts and track could fall without penalty to below that agreed in best and final offers (BAFO) .

Kiley, who is opposed to the public private partnership of London Underground, made his comments after lawyers acting for Transport for London spent two months scrutinising the proposed contracts.

Kiley claimed that originally 50% of open section rail on one line would have been allowed to be in band 'D' or worse - representing 'assets that require excessive or prohibitive costs to ensure they perform their required duty'.

However, Kiley now claims this has been changed to 100% of open track permitted to be at D or worse.

He also pointed to the requirement for sleepers and base concrete that was to see 46% in D or worse condition. This, he claimed, had been revised in the preferred bidder stage to 92.5%.

'What persuaded London Underground to adopt these and other reductions in Infraco obligations so late in the game?'

asked Kiley. 'Will the ongoing negotiations result in additional degradation?'

But a spokesman for Metronet defended the variations: 'From BAFO there are some changes.

This whole thing has been going on so long that there are bound to be variations on original proposals.'

Metronet, which comprises Balfour Beatty, WS Atkins, Thames Water, Seeboard and Adranz, is preferred bidder for the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria Lines contract and the Metropolitan and Circle Lines subsurface contract. Tubelines is backed by Jarvis, Amey and Bechtel-Halcrow and is preferred bidder for the Bakerloo, Northern and Picadilly Line contracts.

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