PARDON? ANOTHER CLOSURE; MAN ON THE TUBE; to Add Insult to Injury, We're Deafened with Boastful Updates, Says Andrew Martin

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Byline: Andrew Martin

MUCH to the Mayor's fury, the notorious PPP contractor, Tube Lines, is demanding a total of 131 full days' closure of the Northern line starting next month, including 21 weekend closures.

Thanks to a policy of deafening us -- sorry, keeping us "informed" -- initiated by Tim O'Toole, the PRminded managing director of the Underground between 2003 and last year, we can be sure we will be kept abreast of these closures by a series of announcements.

We will be boomingly reassured that they are part of "planned engineering works", a phrase betraying a certain smugness. London Underground is saying: "There is an element of premeditation here, you know. We didn't just decide on these works five minutes ago for a laugh." A grown-up railway ought not to be boasting about that. The phrase is also dishonest. The only reason the works on the Jubilee line are "planned" is that Tube Lines didn't finish them on time last year.

John Stewart, of the UK Noise Alliance, believes there are "far too many announcements on the Tube, and they are far too loud". I agree.

I descend to my local station, and the tannoy bellows: "Please keep Highgate station tidy, and take home your noosepapers." What's a noosepaper, for God's sake? …