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Friday, May 05, 2006

Heatwave and the Tube can't cope

London Underground rails buckle in the heat

We had a mini heatwave yesterday and once again the predictability of the undpredictable British weather meant that the Tube was screwed

Chaos for Tube Commuters - Evening Standard

The Evening Standard had a field day with the headline "Chaos for commuters as Tube buckles in the heat". It appears that a "blunder" by contractor Metronet meant that there were emergency speed restrictions across the system, as the contractors had failed to carry out an annual procedure to prevent rails buckling in the heat.

Delays were worst on my end of the line - the Western end of the District Line, between Hammersmith & Acton Town on the Piccadilly Line and also on the Hammersmith & City Line.

TfL commissioner Peter Hendy really got on his high horse about this:

"Metronet have messed up big time. It is going to make the journey home difficult for hundreds and thousands of Londoners. This is because Metronet have not planned and managed their work to take account of the hot weather of which this is the first day. It is the latest in a series of inexcusable failures by Metronet. Why should Londoners have to put up with this? We're not even in a heatwave yet. This is simply poor management and planning".

Don't mince your words Peter. You can read more about the "shambles" on the Tube's website. The Evening Standard continued "The maintenance work, known as 'stressing', is carried out across the above ground Tube network and on the mainline rail system before the summer and winter seasons. It prevents rails buckling in extreme heat - which could throw a speeding train off the tracks - and prevents the rails snapping in extreme cold."

We had temperatures rising to 25C and that mean that temperatures on trains delayed in tunnels were apparently near 40C. Nice. Luckily I took the Northern Line home (what am I saying - luckily?), and got onto South West Trains at Waterloo, so I only had to put up with sweaty smells of people's armpits and avoided the overland section of the Tube.

Let's hope that Metronet listen to their telling off by Mr Hendy and do better from now on.

; Posted by Annie Mole Friday, May 05, 2006 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon