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Monday, November 19, 2007

Goodbye to the promise of cooler Tubes

We're beginning to learn the practical effects of Metronet's collapse. The much trumpeted 150 million quid "cooling" system is now on hold (ie scrapped). The fact that this announcement was made in the middle of November on a wet and cold day, didn't stop it making front page news in The London Paper.

Tube Cooling Plan Axed

A new mechanical chiller was installed at Oxford Circus Station to cool the main ticket hall at the end of May this year. Similar projects at Euston & Waterloo station will now be shelved.

But it's not just cooler Tubes that are in for the chop. Plans to install lifts where there are none at present will also be delayed - with existing lifts and escalators being repaired rather than replaced. Many new stairways, entrances and exits will also be put on hold. There will also be cutbacks on plans to improve accessibility for disabled passengers.

Transport for London will take over maintenance of the lines early in 2008 after Metronet went into administration in July. Tim O'Toole, London Undergound's MD, said rather obviously: "It is not possible to have a collapse on the scale of Metronet without it having major implications."

However, TfL have to prioritise improvements to the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines - leaving other projects (like cooling the system & improving accessibility) struggling for money. I was shocked to hear that Metronet's collapse is apparently still costing us £13m a week.

Beat the heatBrian Cooke, from the passenger group London TravelWatch reckons the Government should step in and supply the extra funds.

He said: "We still believe that it was central Government which caused the mess of the public-private partnership. They got us into the mess so they should get us out of it. It should pay for any additional costs which LU has to suffer."

As passenger numbers and global warming increase it is more important than ever that measures are taken to keep the Tube cool - though we recognise this is not an easy project

So remember to follow the wise advice from TfL of carrying a bottle of water and getting off the Tube earlier if you feel a bit too hot.

; Posted by Annie Mole Monday, November 19, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon