Dear Paula Thank you very much indeed for this detailed response from London Underground (LU).

I am also pleased to say that I have received a detailed response from Vincent McGovern at Tube Lines, for which I am most grateful; Mr McGovern is copied in on this email. Paula, your email below says: “Because of the way that the PPP contract operates, London Underground (LU) does not have direct control over how the upgrade of the Northern line is planned and delivered”. Your email also says: “(LU) strongly believe that (Tube Lines’) demands are excessive and are continuing to urge Tube Lines to review their programme with a view to reducing the level of disruption that will be caused by the closures they have requested.” But Mr McGovern’s email from Tube Lines says: “(Tube Lines) have been discussing a suitable closure programme with LU since mid 2008 and first presented it with a very specific plan back in early summer 2009 which we believed would have kept weekend closures to a minimum which was rejected.” There appears to be a flat contradiction between LU’s email and Tube Lines’ email. If LU has no direct control over how the upgrade is planned and delivered, then how can it be possible for LU to have rejected a plan from Tube Lines? If LU has the power to reject Tube Lines’ plans, then why has the latest plan (involving so many weekend closures) not also been rejected? I have LU telling me that they are trying to persuade Tube Lines to go for fewer weekend closures; I have Tube Lines telling me that they proposed fewer weekend closures to start with, but LU turned the proposal down. So LU is now trying to persuade Tube Lines to do what Tube Lines would have done in the first place, had LU not stopped it from doing so? This is turning into an episode of “Yes, Minister” written by Lewis Carroll. Could I please now have answers from Tube Lines and LU to the following questions: 1. 2. Does LU have the power to stop Tube Lines from carrying out this programme of weekend closures – yes or no? Will LU now consider allowing Tube Lines to implement the “very specific plan (presented) back in early summer 2009 which (Tube Lines) believed would have kept weekend closures to a minimum which was rejected” by LU? What is the latest update on talks between LU and Tube Lines on LU’s continued urging of Tube Lines to “review their programme with a view to reducing the level of disruption that will be caused by the closures they have requested.”

3.

You will understand my frustration at receiving emails in which each of two organisations claims to be trying to persuade the other to implement fewer weekend closures. All I care about is finding some way to carry out these works with fewer weekend closures. I look forward to hearing from LU and Tube Lines in response to this email. Regards Matthew Harris Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Hendon
From: Jenkins Paula [mailto:Paula.Jenkins@tube.tfl.gov.uk] Sent: 24 February 2010 19:13 To: Matthew Harris Cc: Hansberry Pat (General Mgr Northern Line); Dennis Pat (Support Gen Mgr Northern); Hutchings Laura; Thomas Ben; helpline@tubelines.com Subject: RE: Latest news on the Northern Line

Dear Matthew Thank you for your further email concerning the Northern line upgrade. The upgrade of the Northern line is long overdue and absolutely vital, not only to cope with the increase in predicted demand, but also to cope with the current levels of usage. You might be interested to know that some of the most severe overcrowding on the whole Tube network occurs on parts of the line, especially around King’s Cross and through the part of the line serving the City. However, the current signalling system - parts of which as previously explained date back to the 1950’s – limits the number of trains that we can operate. Therefore, we need to upgrade the line to allow us to run more trains to help deliver much needed capacity increases on London’s busiest rail line. Moreover, without complete modernisation of the current signalling system, maintaining the current levels of reliability would become increasingly more difficult. Not only would the benefits of the upgrade (faster journeys, less crowding) not be delivered, but the service would actually degrade over time, with the line increasingly prone to more and increasingly severe delays as the result of frequent failures of a signalling system that is life-expired. Increased overcrowding would also make journeys noticeably slower and more prone to delay and disruption. Not going ahead with the upgrade is simply not an option. As you know, Tube Lines have currently asked us for 65 weekend closures of part or all of the line, starting at the end of March and ending in November 2011, in order to allow them to undertake upgrade work. In addition, they are also planning 16 months of early evening closures (Monday to Thursday) of

the whole line north of Stockwell, starting in July this year, resulting in last trains leaving central London before 22:30. We strongly believe that these demands are excessive and are continuing to urge Tube Lines to review their programme with a view to reducing the level of disruption that will be caused by the closures they have requested. We have noted - and thank you – for your support on this. Because of the way that the PPP contract operates, London Underground (LU) does not have direct control over how the upgrade of the Northern line is planned and delivered, and as such is unable to supply an ‘optioneering document’. This is something that Tube Lines will need to respond to you on directly. I note from your blog, that since emailing us on 8 February, you have received an acknowledgment from Tube Lines and are awaiting their full response. I understand that they will respond in due course. I hope this is helpful. Kind regards Paula Paula Jenkins Stakeholder Communications London Underground

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful