LONDON'S TRANSPORT commissioner Bob Kiley warned last week that the taxpayer will pay if private sector plans to use unproven signalling technology on London Underground fail.
In an interim consultation report sent to the London Transport (LT) board last week, Kiley said consortium Tubelines wants to install a new transmission based signalling (TBS) system onto the Jubilee and Northern Lines.
TBS systems are often called 'moving-block', as they allow trains travelling in the same direction to move closer to each other than older 'fixed-block' systems, enabling more trains to run.
The Tubelines consortium, which comprises Jarvis, Amey and Bechtel-Halcrow, is preferred bidder for the privately financed upgrade of the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.
Kiley claimed that Tubelines will not be penalised if the new TBS systems fail and trains run late, under the latest draft of the public private partnership (PPP) upgrade contracts.
Instead, Transport for London (TfL), which is to take over the Tube once the PPP contracts are signed, will be expected to pay.
This is because the contracts assume the systems will not fail.
despite the technology being unproven as a retrofit to older systems.
'This is nothing less than LUL agreeing to retain a large portion of the types of risks and cost overruns it bore in connection with the Jubilee Line Extension and retaining performance risk in connection with Infraco work, ' said Kiley's report.
'This is inconsistent with the claimed essence of PPP - Infraco responsibility for performance outcomes.'
A Tubelines spokesman rejected Kiley's claims, saying that the consortium would pay if it did not reach its service performance targets and if the new signalling systems failed.