Signalling upgrades on the Jubilee Line are running up to 9 months behind schedule according to Transport for London today, and they are putting pressure on tube upgrade contractor Tube Lines to prevent it from paying shareholders while the upgrade is delayed.
In a paper presented to the Transport for London board this morning by London Underground’s interim managing director Richard Parry, the upgrade of the Jubilee Line was revealed to be severely behind schedule, with a completion date not listed, but closures noted up to August 2010 - 9 months late.
Tube Lines manages upgrades for the Jubilee, Northern and Victoria lines, and signalling upgrades on the Jubilee Line have been slipping.
Parry’s paper lists 28 weekends - 56 full days - when closures are expected on the line and a full account of London Underground’s dispute with Tube Lines.
“[Tube Lines] alleges that London Underground’s approach to closures is impeding delivery of [the Jubilee Line],” reads the report.
“In April 2009, LU granted 12 additional weekends of closures to Tube Lines at short notice on the basis that Tube Lines would complete the Jubille Line upgrade by 31 December 2009.”
Parry told the TFL board that no problems had been reported by Tube Lines until the Summer of 2009, and London Underground had reported that only five additional closures were needed to complete the upgrade by December 2009.
Now, the report reads, “Tube Lines is discussing up to 28 further weekend or part-weekend closures through to Summer 2010, in addition to the extra eight closures granted during Autumn 2009.
“London Underground is therefore not accepting any culpability regarding closures,” it read.
In addition, the report also sets out an ongoing dispute between Tube Lines and London Underground over shareholder payments.
Tube Lines is owned jointly by contractors Amey and Bechtel. Parry’s report says: “The level of payments made to the shareholders by Tube Lines under secondment agreements is one of the reasons why overheads and central costs are an issue.”
London Underground indicated that it believed the PPP Arbiter, Chris Bolt, should decide whether payments to shareholders are appropriate.
Tube Lines says the 28 weekends of closures is misleading, as it includes further line testing required by London Underground when Tube Lines does eventually complete its work.
A Tube Lines spokesperson said around 18 full days - 9 weekend closures would most likely be needed to complete the upgrades. “We have been working collaboratively with London Underground (LU) for nearly five months to try to get a programme of access agreed to enable us to complete the upgrade of the Jubilee line.
“As all the independent experts have agreed, these closures are necessary. Both Tube Lines and LU need closures; Tube Lines to get its work finished, and LU for training their drivers.
“Our situation remains largely unchanged since July in terms of what we need to complete this project, which is six full line weekend closures to reach technical completion, including the software testing. In addition, we will require a few more closures to perform system proving. LU will themselves need a number of its own weekend closures to train their drivers and perform trial operations.
“The 28 weekend closures referenced by the Mayor, Boris Johnson, in a letter to Tube Lines last Friday refers to a list of weekend dates which LU has suggested might be available to Tube Lines.
“This is not a list of dates requested by Tube Lines. The sooner we can reach agreement on a closure timetable the sooner the job can be finished and the sooner the benefits will be felt by those who depend on the Jubilee line,” he said.