Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Massive 14% Increase in Tube Delays Blamed on Crumbling Network

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Massive 14% Increase in Tube Delays Blamed on Crumbling Network

Article excerpt

Byline: HUGH DOUGHERTY

TUBE delays have soared by 14 per cent in a year because of the system's crumbling infrastructure, the Government has revealed.

The number of trains which ran late by at least 15 minutes reached a record 2,568 in the last financial year, with three lines having the equivalent of one train a day seriously delayed.

The admission comes the day after London Underground bosses sparked fury by telling MPs there is no such thing as "overcrowding" - because nobody defines what it is.

And it will increase the pressure to improve the system's performance on the consortia of private firms which will take over the Tube under the Government's pound sterling16 billion public-private partnership scheme.

The massive increase in delays from the previous year, when 2,200 trains ran seriously late, was revealed by junior transport minister David Jamieson in a Commons statement.

"The increase in delays between 2000-1 and 2001-2 is primarily a consequenceof problems with ageing assets, especially signalling, including a major problem on the Metropolitan line during 2001," he said.

"This emphasises the urgent need for the major investment and renewal which our Tube modernisation plans will deliver."

The minister named London Underground's worst performers as the Metropolitan line, with 444 delays, and the District line (431), while the Central line was third on the list of misery with 378 delays - meaning each of them had the equivalent of one severely delayed train a day.

But there was some good news for commuters in the minister's statement, as he revealed that there had been 1,749 serious delays between April and December 2002. If the level of delays continues until April, it will mean a slight fall from the previous year's record high, to 2,333 late-running services.

The minister's disclosure of the full scale of Tube delays came after a day of serious embarrassment for London Underground's embattled management. …

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