Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cash Shortage Threatens [Pounds Sterling]1bn Tube Line Upgrade

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cash Shortage Threatens [Pounds Sterling]1bn Tube Line Upgrade

Article excerpt

Byline: DICK MURRAY

THE [pounds sterling]1 billion upgrade of the Piccadilly Line was today at risk of being axed as the Tube cash crisis worsened.

Tube bosses, the Government and Tube Lines are involved in a row over a funding gap of [pounds sterling]1.4 billion.

Tube Lines, the private sector consortium which is also responsible for maintenance and improvement of the Northern and Jubilee lines, confirmed the Piccadilly Line upgrade, which would include 91 new trains, is "at risk".

Terry Morgan, Tube Lines' chief executive, said if the funding gap is not filled "the greatest risk is the upgrade of the Piccadilly Line".

He also raised doubts over new signalling which was ordered at a cost of hundreds of millions of pounds before the money was there to pay for it and contracts to supply 91 new trains the UK's largest order by 2014 to increase capacity by 20 per cent.

The Piccadilly Line is London Underground's third busiest network, used by more than 650,000 passengers a day.

It runs through central London from Cockfosters in the north-east to Heathrow in the west and serves all the Heathrow terminals including T5.

Mr Morgan said there was not enough "cosmetic work" such as repainting of stations available to cut back and save cash.

The crisis has been exacerbated by the collapse of Metronet last year with debts of [pounds sterling]2 billion.

Mayor Boris Johnson has made an urgent appeal to ministers for an extra [pounds sterling]3 billion to solve the problems across the network, used by 3.3 million passengers a day, but has been met with a point-blank refusal.

Tube Lines is already "locked-in" to provide [pounds sterling]600 million of new signalling for the Jubilee Line by next year and on the Northern Line by 2011.

A senior Tube Lines source said: "For a funding gap of [[pounds sterling]1. …

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