A bumpy ride ahead for Northern Line users


Boris Johnson takes back the Underground but confirms a future of delays

By Howard Lloyd


BORIS JOHNSON warned Northern Line users last Wednesday to still expect delays despite TfL’s agreed £310m takeover of the contractor responsible for proposed upgrades.

Tube Lines clashed with the mayor after demanding 131 days’ closure and requesting an extra £1.75b from TfL to fund Northern Line works.

In the first Mayor’s Question Time since the deal was announced, Mr Johnson was adamant the takeover would benefit users of London’s busiest Tube line.

Mr Johnson said it would not be an easy ride however, hinting TfL were prepared to take longer completing the work to reduce the number of delays.

“These are major upgrades to one of the biggest transport arteries in the UK, so there will be pain. It would be foolish to think otherwise,” said Mr Johnson.

“I think it is very important to stress that there will be closures and there will be periods when the Northern Line will be put out of action as a result of the upgrades.

“The critical thing is that this deal gets rid of the PPP structure which I do not think served London well and it will save the tax payers considerable sums of money.

“I am confident we can get the Northern Line done in a way that suits the interests of the London travelling public and not the interests of Tube Lines shareholders.”

Tube Lines, the self-proclaimed ‘success story’ of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP), has faced fierce criticism over its upgrades on the Jubilee Line. 

Despite singing the takeover’s praises, Mr Johnson was unable to allay fears TfL would not fulfil its pledge to complete by the 2012 Olympic Games.

“We will be able to get on with the upgrades at a timetable and in a manner that suits Londoners and that suits the taxpayer,” said an evasive Mr Johnson.

“Obviously there will have to be a trade-off between practicality and getting the thing done.

“But London is the motor of the UK economy. If you stop people getting to work you starve the motor of the UK economy of fuel.”

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