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No replacement for Met Line expansion boss

Watford Tube

The programme director for the Metropolitan Line Extension has left the project and a replacement is not currently being sought.

It has emerged Glenn Keelan left the project towards the end of last year and the role is currently not being filled or advertised. However, Transport for London (TfL) said there is currently a programme manager who reports directly to London Underground’s director of strategy and service development David Hughes.

Transport for London (TfL) has still not resolved finance issues on the £284.4M Metropolitan line extension, several months after New Civil Engineer reported that it was looking at an alternative procurement route for the project to bring it in on budget.

TfL took over the project from Hertfordshire County Council just over a year ago, with Taylor Woodrow planned as the main contractor. It was previously known as the Croxley Rail Link. The aim was to deliver the project by 2020. Although that date is still the overall aim, funding has yet to be allocated. As TfL is in charge of the project, it would have to foot the bill for any cost increase.

In a written Parliamentary answer just before Christmas, transport minister Andrew Jones said: “From discussions between officials in the Department (for Transport) and in TfL, we are aware that, as a result of prices received from the supply chain, the costs of the scheme are currently higher than the agreed budget. We understand TfL is considering how best to deal with this.”

Last June Keelan told New Civil Engineer’s UK Rail conference that he was looking at an alternative procurement route on the £284.4M project in a bid to bring it back on budget. He said it was currently coming in around £14M over budget.

“As part of the development of the scheme as we continue on through detailed design, we are exploring other procurement strategies,” he said. “This is including looking at packaging the work in a slightly different way which may involve working more directly with the tier 2 and 3 contractors.

“No disrespect to the current novated contractor Taylor Woodrow, but when you deal with big contractors or consultancies like that they have big overheads and costs,” he said at the conference.

London Underground director of strategy and service development David Hughes said today: “Since taking over the Metropolitan Line Extension in November 2015, we have undertaken substantial design development and enabling work, which is due to complete in spring next year. We continue to work with Hertfordshire County Council and DfT [Department for Transport] to ensure the affordability of the project. There’s a growth fund in the Business Plan for transport projects which will unlock growth and regeneration. The list of projects covered by the fund is still being reviewed but could include the Metropolitan Line Extension.”

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