Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stairways to Misery; Escalator Faults Cause Disruption at Nine Stations on Underground

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stairways to Misery; Escalator Faults Cause Disruption at Nine Stations on Underground

Article excerpt

Byline: LECH MINTOWT-CZYZ

TRANSPORT campaigners today condemned the daily catalogue of delays caused by failures on the Tube's ageing escalators.

Thousands of commuters are suffering disruption as engineers struggle to cope. Years of under-investment has led to a series of breakdowns with some stations forced to close at short notice to allow emergency repairs. Last week, Kentish Town was closed after one escalator was stopped for scheduled maintenance work when the other one broke down. Engineers say it may be weeks before the station reopens.

Campaigners have also voiced despair over Waterloo's escalators after engineers spent seven months replacing three, only to have to shut them down again after a month for maintenance.

The faulty system, from the Tube ticket hall up to the rail concourse, has been under repair for two weeks but is due to re-enter service "shortly". An Evening Standard investigation found that at least 17 escalators at nine stations are affected by breakdowns or scheduled maintenance.

Seven Sisters, Tottenham Court Road, Sloane Square, Turnpike Lane, Bermondsey, Camden Town and Chancery Lane also have problems. In addition, the installation of an extra escalator at North Greenwich-has forced a series of weekend closures. Today Andrew Bosi, chairman of the Capital Transport Campaign, branded the situation "unacceptable".

He said: "Kentish Town is particularly difficult but it is only the latest example of an embedded problem - Tube passengers are paying for years of under-investment.

"Virtually everything that moves on the network should have been replaced 10 years ago and the fact it has not results in constant no-notice breakdowns in service and delays for thousands every day. It is making people's lives an absolute misery.

"The most disturbing aspect of the whole thing is that there is no guarantee of things getting better.

"The Tube companies are in a hole because every time they try to improve things, even by scratching the surface, they seem to make things worse in the short term."

Data released to the Evening Standard under the Freedom of Information Act showed that during at least one month last year, 185 of the Tube's 412 escalators had some loss of service - 55 of them for more than 10 hours. …

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