Stephen Hall leaves as London Underground faces legal war over £2bn communications upgrade

The upgrade of London’s tube network faced fresh turmoil this week as it emerged that the manager heading up Metronet’s station and track renewal programme has left.

Stephen Hall was chief programmes officer leading Metronet’s asset renewal programme on behalf of London Underground (LU), which hopes shortly to conclude a deal to bring the ailing consortium out of administration. Metronet collapsed last July after racking up losses of more than £1.7bn.

It has also emerged that LU is embroiled in a multimillion pound legal battle with members of the Citylink consortium, which includes engineer Fluor Corporation. The dispute concerns a £2bn upgrade of the tube’s communications network.

The parties are understood to be in arbitration after a row over responsibility for delays on the programme to replace a radio networks with a digital system. It is understood that the sums at stake could reach £50m.

A source close to the case said it was likely that once a ruling was reached there would be a “flow through” of legal cases and settlements involving subcontractors working on the programme.

The scheme, known as Connect, was subject to a ruling on a different issues last year.

LU is investing £2bn in the project over 20 years.

Metronet confirmed this week that it had brought in Steve Mole, the managing director of Capital Project Consultancy, to head Metronet’s asset renewal business on an interim basis while it seeks a permanent replacement for Hall, who left at the beginning of February.

A Metronet spokesperson said: “Steve Mole has over 15 years’ experience in scoping and delivering transport, property, health and education projects.”