Costs have dramatically escalated by hundreds of millions of pounds on a major London Underground upgrade project that is suffering years of delays after the failure of the initial contract.
A signalling upgrade programme on the Circle, District, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines was due to finish in 2018, however the original £354m contract with Bombardier had to be re-advertised in 2014 after it became apparent the system might not work.
Transport for London (TfL) announced today the signalling and control project has now been handed to a new supplier, Thales, with a price tag of £760m, and a completion date scheduled for 2023.
In a statement TfL said the improvements would boost capacity by an average of a third on the four lines.
Work is expected to begin later this year, with the main benefits delivered by 2022, and final improvements set for 2023.
Labour’s Val Shawcross AM, said ‘after eight years, the mayor has failed to complete what is not only the most cost efficient upgrade to the London Underground, but the most beneficial to commuters and London’s economy.’
‘The tube upgrade should have topped the mayor’s list of priorities, but his abject failure to stay focused now means that paying passengers will be left to contend with yet another five years of over-stretched services.’
Nick Brown, managing director of London Underground, said: ‘Having successfully modernised three of the most heavily used lines on our network, we are ready to begin work to bring the next four lines into the modern era. This will transform the journeys of millions of our customers, significantly increasing service reliability and frequency.
'We have a very clear delivery plan and timetable for the work and, as we have done with the modernisation of the Northern line, we will keep London moving and growing as we do it. In parallel, we will continue to deliver a better, more reliable service every day which builds on the work over recent years to reduce delays to their lowest ever level.’
The overall budget for the total four line modernisation programme is £5.4bn, and includes investment in 191 new modern air-conditioned walk through trains, already introduced on the Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith and City and District lines, as well as new track, lengthened platforms and rebuilt train depots with advanced technology to support reliability.