When I heard the magnitude of the scale of the closures that Tubelines want during their upgrade of the Northern Line I thought they must be taking the you know what!
Sixteen months of early evening closures and something like 83 weekends – and we are talking major closures – either the whole caboodle and/or north of Stockwell. They must be bloody mad!
I could say ‘I told you so’ – ‘cos I did – endlessly when Labour forced the PPP (private public partnership) on us for the tube. The contract is a nightmare – and now we in North London (and the other end of the Northern line obviously) are about to be tortured endlessly by this dreadful arrangement.
Boris has woken up late – as usual – hope someone is checking what he said about the PPP! As Mayor he is now saying let’s change the contract to another private company. That would be out of the frying pan into the fire AND would cost a fortune to get out of the existing contract I bet. The shareholders wanting a slice is much of the current problem and definitely a huge whack of the ginormous price tag of £6 billion that Tubelines are asking for.
£6billion! It could be done for £4 billion I am sure – if the shareholders and profiteers were not guaranteed under the PPP contract their rake off before the work even begins.
No – our best bet – is for Tubelines to want out of the contract themselves. Then LU / TfL who already had to rescue Metronet when they went under (the other private public partnership) to take over. Blimey – just when you think it can’t get worse – it does.
Having been Chair of Transport in London for nearly five years when I was on the London Assembly – and knowing a little bit about engineering and repairs as a consequence – I am sure that Tubelines have asked for way more closures than they need. The reason – well they would get charged a penalty probably if they over ran their agreed closure time – and so rather than risk penalties – I bet they have asked for loads more time in closures then is actually needed.
So – I have got my fingers crossed – just hoping that Tubelines want to get out of the kitchen!