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Tube firms face fines for de-icing delays

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TUBE INFRASTRUCTURE contractors Metronet and Tubelines are facing stiff financial penalties after snow and ice caused widespread disruption to London's Underground last week.

Problems with ageing de-icing trains hampered Metronet's efforts to maintain services on Wednesday morning.

Then, after Wednesday's snowfall, overnight de-icing of the network meant Metronet was unable to carry out manual snow clearance at train depots, hampering the start of services on Thursday morning.

Manual snow clearance can only take place when trackside power is switched off.

Worst hit were the above ground parts of the Tube network, including the western ends of the Metropolitan and Piccadilly Lines and the eastern end of the Central Line.

'The performance of Metronet and Tubelines was not acceptable. We had contingency plans in place and clearly not all actions were undertaken as well as they should have been, ' said a London Underground spokesman.

'Under the contract there are abatements for poor performance, so they will face financial penalties. We are now working out what those penalties are.'

On Wednesday problems were worst on the Metropolitan line after de-icing trains failed to spread de-icing fluid as planned.

A third of Tube trains carry special equipment to spray deicing fluid onto the track. But the stock is old and needs replacing, said Metronet.

'We do need to upgrade and replace the de-icing equipment, which our investment programme will do, ' said a spokesman.

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