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Safety test is final hurdle for Tube PPP


LONDON UNDERGROUND (LUL) has yet to prove that it can ensure Tube safety immediately after handing over its assets to the private sector, rail safety watchdogs said last week.

Her Majesty's Rail Inspectorate (HMRI) said that it is still waiting for details as to how LUL will ensure safety during the transition between owning its assets and leasing them out over 30 year contracts.

Private contractors are due to take over LUL's assets under £16bn Private Public Partnership (PPP) upgrade contracts later this year.

HMRI is concerned that contractors will need time to get to grips with the Tube system and is calling for extra supervision to ensure safety. It asked LUL for the safety audit details in a letter sent last week, and for a clear programme on safety checks LUL engineers will be carrying out on private contractors, and how often, as soon as possible.

LUL has yet to outline how it will cope with the change.

The safety test is the final hurdle that the controversial PPP contracts must leap before get the final go ahead from transport secretary Stephen Byers.

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