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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

London Assembly Debates Northern Line 'Chaos'

Hello folks. I haven't posted on here in a while but I have called into action by Annie (who is indisposed right now) to update you on the latest comings and goings behind the scenes with regard to the Northern Line technical problems.

Essentially, an emergency meeting has been called for today to discuss the matter. Here's what
epolitix.com has to say about it:

An emergency debate in the London assembly will call on the mayor to take action to solve the Northern Line's technical difficulties. The session was called after recent problems led severe delays on the line that has the worst record of any in the Underground network.

Conservative assembly members plan to force mayor Ken Livingstone to produce an urgent plan of action to resolve the ongoing disruption. Under the rarely used power, the assembly can oblige the mayor to report to it on a specific issue.

Assembly Tory Brian Coleman said:
"We need to do everything we can to get this situation resolved. That is why we are using this rarely used power to force the mayor to report to the assembly on this urgent matter."

The Conservatives' call is contained in an emergency motion they will propose at the assembly meeting. The motion also welcomes a decision by London Underground last Friday to issue an emergency direction to the contractors allegedly responsible for the safety systems that have failed.

The Lib Dems in the assembly also welcomed London Underground's move but intend to question whether the move was robust enough to prevent further delays to passenger journeys. They say that the "emergency step in powers" should be applied now.

Liberal Democrat assembly transport spokesman, Geoff Pope, said:
"Enough is enough on the Northern Line. Passengers using this crumbling misery line are at the mercy of a poor PFI deal and a PPP contract that has not delivered. The state of the line has been raised time and again with the companies who maintain it, yet things have only gone from bad to worse.

"London Underground should exercise its step in rights and take control of the repairs whenever passenger safety is put at risk."

We'll keep you updated on the outcome (if any) of this meeting of course ...

UPDATE - The whole Northern Line has been closed.

Not as a result of the assembly but probably because the RMT rail union members have refused to drive the trains.

However, members of the Assembly today voted unanimously on a motion which calls for Ken to draft an action plan to stop disruption and delays on the Nothern Line, and he has to report his progress next week. For more on this see This is Local London.

As SK said in the comments below the entire Northern Line has been closed for this rest of the evening, seemingly "by the unions over the obvious safety issues, rather than to speed up the fixing job"

We'll update as and when we hear anything else. But if you use the Northern Line listen to the radio before leaving tomorrow and get prepared for an altenative route.


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