London Underground investigation condemns Metronet's tube maintenance procedures.

Metronet has been condemned for failing in its tube maintenance procedures by a London Underground report on the White City derailment.

In a worrying twist for tube safety standards, LU’s investigation also criticises its own managers for failing to check that the private-sector firm was carrying out its duties effectively.

The report found that Metronet, the company responsible for two thirds of tube maintenance, did not take adequate measures to ensure that a set of track points at White City station was properly maintained. This negligence was said to be the ‘underlying cause’ of the derailment of a Central line train in May. The report claims there was ‘inadequate communication and management’ within the company; a failing which led to Metronet not complying with specific measures laid down by LU.

These measures were put in place as a result of the Camden Town derailment in October 2003, an incident featuring points of the same design as those at White City. A further 42 similar sets are used across the network.

LU is now improving inspection procedures in an attempt to ensure that it deals with the ‘known design problems’ of these new switch rails. LU Service Director BCV, Nigel Holness, insists the organisation will ‘learn the lessons from this incident and implement the recommendations in the report’.

The White city derailment did not injure any passengers, but did cause significant disruption to rail services. Her Majesty’s Rail Inspectorate (HMRI) is carrying out a separate investigation into the incident.