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My JLE Derek Smith, managing director, London Underground Limited

My involvement with the Jubilee Line Extension as a relatively new recruit to the business has, necessarily, been limited. But my inheritance, which we in the business now refer to as the Extended Jubilee Line rather than the Jubilee Line Extension, is immensely rich.

This seeming small point of difference is actually very significant. As the newest custodian of this extraordinary advance in metropolitan public transportation, I am less concerned with its history than its future. This depends on the Extension meeting the high reliability standards set by the existing Jubilee Line and the smooth integration of the old with the new into one seamless entity.

Of course, when you are commissioning an asset as complex as a new railway there will be teething problems. Each asset is inextricably linked to the others. Integrating them, and minimising the impact of individual failures on the whole, will be critical.

Even with the time required for assets and the operational procedures that surround their maintenance and operation to bed in, there are intrinsic benefits that will compensate: the Extension's innovative platform-edge doors, for example, whose primary purpose is to control air flow for the comfort of passengers, and also, at a stroke, prevent unauthorised access to the line.

And then expansive station layouts, matched by superb ticketing and gateline facilities allow swift and roomy access for passengers. All of this will immediately take the tension out of passenger travel as we know it.

And then there is our staff. Since joining London Transport, I have spent a great deal of time out and about on the Extension meeting its people. If I am cautious about the commissioning of assets, I have no such concerns about staff. Their pride in, and enthusiasm for their new - and indisputably superlative - working environment, along with the tools they have to work with, is very evident.

And many have climbed mountains. In the short time between taking control of assets and providing revenue service, they have translated classroom learning on new equipment and procedures into a real operational environment with commitment and efficiency.

And, of course, during trial operations when we have been running the railway as if it were full of passengers - they have had more safety-critical simulations thrown at them than they will hopefully experience for real in their careers with us.

Those on the existing line, too, have had their own challenges as they loaned precious resource to the Extension at critical points. This, I believe, has given Extended Jubilee Line staff the potential to become first-rate service providers.

Like the Docklands Light Railway and the Heathrow Express, we have had the opportunity to install a new system while recruiting and training from the ground up, so there is a fresh and positive can do culture. When all's said and done, though, even if your assets are old, the customer's travel experience can be vastly improved if your people are good.

The ideal, however, is that people and kit combine to improve customer service. It will be this integration of the Extension's human and technological assets that will set the standard. Look no further than the Extension's new station control systems, for example, that give staff more time to assist the customer.

As for the Extension's future under the Government's public/private partnership, our contracts with the private sector will be designed to ensure that we and, therefore, our customers, reap maxiumum operational value from its assets.

I believe that demand for the railway will grow exponentially with Docklands' expansion and that the moving block signalling system currently under review, could play an important role in further increasing the capacity of the Extension and indeed the network. The whole should, ultimately, benefit from any new technology or practice that is proved by individual lines or businesses.

My vision is that the Extended Jubilee Line will become a microcosm of excellence offering smooth, reliable journeys, supported by outstanding front end service within the network and that its successes, whether connected with people or assets, will be rolled out across it. First things, first, however. My priority is to get the existing service up and running with optimal operational reliability.

There is a lot that is important about the Extended Jubilee Line. There's no doubt that Canary Wharf's five million square feet, never mind its surrounding residential developments, would not have been built without it and that Docklands is set to become, if it is not already, one of the most desirable places to live and work in London.

And the Extension's reach to the east and south east has already transformed parts of our capital that had, hitherto, existed beneath the gaze of mainstream metropolitans. The line is reinventing London.

It goes without saying, of course, that the architecture is outstanding; the engineering, brilliant; the operational assets, state of the art.

The thing that is really important, however, is that the outstanding service promised by its glittering structures and infrastructure is delivered consistently.

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