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Thursday, October 13, 2005

No Northern Line at all today - (read Thursday AND Friday)

Mill Hill East was the "final straw" in safety row and drivers refuse to drive trains

Well, as we reported yesterday the
Northern Line, was completely taken out of action last night, as staff from all the main railway unions refused to operate trains due to the current safety problems on that line over the braking system.

The row began when four workers were sent home for refusing to drive unsafe trains. At Mill Hill East, the fifth problem on the line happened yesterday and that was the final straw for the drivers.

"Aslef warned that it will ballot its members on the Tube unless the drivers were paid by 12 noon tomorrow." reported Channel 4 news yesterday, so unless the staff who are refusing to drive the trains are paid by 12 noon today, we may have industrial action on our hands.

"The Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) said it would support any of its members who refused to take trains out and it urged LU to withdraw any trains which had experienced problems with the system."

And for what it's worth, Annie Mole, will also support any drivers who refuse to take unsafe trains out! Seriously though, I would always support any industrial action even if I know it will impact my journey, if it is over safety issues.

So far London Underground said: "We are working with our trade unions and staff to reassure them that it is safe to continue to run Northern line trains."

How about spending some time fixing the trains themselves rather than trying to persuade the drivers and pull wool over the public's eyes for as long as possible over all these issues? Even last night when the Northern Line was being closed at around 8pm, the official word from the Tube bosses was "signalling problems", not "our drivers are not surprisingly refusing to drive trains which are unsafe cos the private contractors have messed up big time".

Anyway for those of you who would have wanted to use the Northern Line today here's the official travel advice from London Underground. Good luck with your journey and well done to the drivers.

UPDATE - Friday 14th October

More of the same as the above as the Northern Line is still closed definitely for the rest of this day.

LU says there should be a limited service over the weekend.

As I mentioned yesterday in the comments that sadly (in this case) the unions are getting the media blame for the closure, however, "London Underground said that all the failures had occurred during tests when trains were running at less than 5mph and the fault occurred only at low speed........

"Tube Lines, which maintains the line, said that it had found the cause and hoped to have all 106 trains adjusted by next week. London Underground said it was confident that the trains were safe but had been unable to convince the union."

UPDATE Tube Lines Press Release Press release from private contractors "Tube Lines" essentially blaming another private contractor Alstrom and the trade unions for the Northern Line closure.

UPDATE - SUNDAY 16TH OCTOBER - From Moley "10am: A reduced service is operating between High Barnet/Mill Hill East to Euston (Bank platforms) and between Kennington and Golders Green via Charing Cross."

Plus according to the BBC a full service won't be running until Wednesday 19th. Thanks to SK for bringing that to my attention.


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