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LUL slams Tube maintenance report

NEWS

LONDON UNDERGROUND (LUL) this week lashed out at consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff for producing a damning report about the state of maintenance standards for the Tube.

The report highlights potentially serious flaws in the safety standards regime and warns that they could compromise the £13bn privately financed Tube upgrade.

PB produced the report for London Transport chairman Bob Kiley before news of his sacking broke on Tuesday (see below).

Kiley is also London's transport commissioner, in charge of Transport for London.

The report says there are 'instances of material gaps in coverage of the standards, the standards themselves are not conformed to and overall they are in need of a comprehensive update'.

The report concludes that current standards are 'neither adequate nor appropriate to be used as a management control tool'.

Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) stood firmly behind its findings amid LU claims that its input was ignored.

'The report reflects our overall independent professional findings on the adequacy of the LUL standards regime, ' said PB in a statement.

But London Underground chief engineer Keith Beattie said the report was 'very selective, ' and questioned its independence. 'I would not call the report as it stands independent, as it does not take on board LU's comments, ' he said.

He claimed the report ignored the fact that private consortia or Infracos would have to ask LUL to set standards for work if formally defined standards were incomplete or out of date.

At the moment LUL is still bringing 70% of its standards up to date.

The PB report urges LUL engineers to update the 1,317 standards covering the maintenance of everything from track to signals, tunnels and stations within 18 months.

LUL's failure to keep the standards up to date means that private contractors or Infracos will be able to decide for themselves how much maintenance work will be needed.

It will also make it hard for LUL to penalise them for poor performance under the public private partnership arrangement.

'There could be no assurance, other than the Infracos' good faith, that proper maintenance procedures would be followed, ' it says.The Infracos would also have scope to 'flood LUL with concessions' and demands for 'increased compensation, risk mitigation and relief from the PPP performance regime, ' as standards were re-assessed, it says.

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