London Undergroud issued writ against Tube consortium for delays on 34 schemes

London Underground has launched a High Court battle against Metronet over the consortium’s failure to meet deadlines for station upgrades.

London Underground’s writ, which marks a new low between the two organisations, reveals the extent of delays that have occurred across two-thirds of the tube network. It claims that:

  • Thirty-four schemes have been delayed
  • Delays of more than one year to Walthamstow Central and Wanstead stations
  • Delays of almost one year to Bond Street, Hainault, Chigwell and Roding Valley stations.
London Underground is seeking a court order to allow it to impose a revised completion schedule on Metronet. This would make the consortium responsible for any further delays to the work and, by implication, for associated costs.

The writ reveals that the parties have been in dispute over the delays since June last year, when London Underground issued a “corrective action notice”, requiring Metronet to complete a series of already delayed projects by new dates.

Metronet argued that the notice was invalid under the terms of its contract, and started adjudication proceedings against London Underground, which Metronet won.

However, London Underground has now gone to the High Court in an attempt to overturn the adjudicator’s decision and force Metronet to comply with the revised schedule.

News of the dispute comes after months of deteriorating relations between the two.

Last November Chris Bolt, the arbiter of the PPP that governs the contract, found that Metronet had not performed “economically and efficiently” during its first three years. By 31 March last year the company had only delivered 14 of its scheduled 35 station upgrades.

Earlier this month, London mayor Ken Livingstone called for a review of Metronet’s cost overruns.

In the first seven-and-a-half years of its 30-year contract, Metronet has overspent by about £750m and has fallen behind schedule.

It has now completed 32 stations and hopes to have 40 of the currently scheduled 43 finished by the end of next month.

The House of Commons’ transport select committee told the Department for Transport that the findings gave rise to “serious concern, given that the government’s plans for longer term improvement to the underground rest almost entirely on the PPP”.

Metronet is made up of Balfour Beatty, Atkins, Bombardier, EDF Energy and Thames Water. It is responsible for stations and related infrastructure services on the Central, Bakerloo, Victoria and Waterloo & City lines.

n British Waterways has secured funding for the £18.9m Prescott Lock project, which will enable London’s waterways to be used to transport materials to Olympic construction sites. The project, designed by Terry Farrell & Partners, involves the development of a lock and water control structure at Prescott Lock, east London.
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