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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Safety on the London Underground

Privatisation and tube safety

I've been neglecting certain aspects of the tube, being caught up with celeb spotting and tube ad spotting, and mad map spotting and general moaning. I know it's my blog and I can say what I like, but there had been
damage to some trains on the 12th Feb and I didn't mention it. Mainly I suppose I had forgotten and also, fortunately, no one was hurt.

But last autumn, safety was a big concern (two derailments in two days) and regular visitors may remember my little campaign to Lynne Featherstone - Chair of the London Assembly Transport Policy Committee. Many of you commented and added strength to the arguments (thanks again for that).

Well, I had a reminder of this only a few days ago. Buried deep in a post I originally made on the 28th October 2003 - I had a reply on 13th Feb 2004 from a London Underground Driver who also happens to be a health and safety rep for LU. As many of you are probably not going back as far as my October posts and campaign (but thanks to Oshea, the driver who clearly did), I thought I'd highlight oshea's comments to a thread about safety on the tube as there are some very interesting points.

As an Underground Driver I can assure Bradley that most of the money spent by London Underground on legal fees is not spent on fighting the unions, but is instead spent on fighting the infrastructure (INFRACO) companies i.e. Metronet and Tubelines. Because of the nature of the PPP contracts every delay has to be paid for by either the INFRACO or LUL, as you can imagine there is not always agreement on who is to blame for the delay so the lawyers get involved, 372 cases since PPP began with an estimated �5million on legal fees alone, and all this just to apportion blame for delays !!!

The unions and particularly the RMT were and are totally opposed to PPP and are still fighting it.

Perhaps Bradley is not aware that since privatisation on the tube there have been FIVE serious derailments on the tube YES FIVE, namely

1. Loughton
2. Chancery Lane
3. Chiswick Park
4. Hammersmith
5. Camden

The INFRACO companies' main objective is to gain money for their shareholders and is not and never has been the safety and wellbeing of their passengers or staff.
Not only am I a Driver on LUL, I am also a Health and Safety Rep. and believe me the things I see and hear of on a daily basis around the Underground would put most people off ever using it again.

Should anyone want any more info please reply to this post and I will provide.

So there we are, an open invitation to speak to a tube driver and a Health and Safety Rep. Thanks for speaking out OShea.

This invitation is particularly pertinent to people who still think London's tube is great and better than systems overseas and also to the many people who refuse to travel on the tube as last year's derailments scared the shit out of them and to anyone who travels on the tube every day. We were very, very lucky there were no fatalities on any of those derailments.

Safety is still a very real issue on the tube and I still think it's amazing that the government and LU bosses can spend so much money apportioning blame for delays, and trying to justify PPP, when our cranky, old system is desparately underfunded and this crankiness and oldness can lead to accidents on a system that carries 3 million people every day.

; Posted by Annie Mole Tuesday, February 17, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE