Piccadilly Line delayed and station improvements halted in bid to fill £2.2bn funding hole

Transport for London is to cut £300m from the cost of the tube upgrade over the next four years by scaling back station improvements, deferring “non-essential” civils work and reviewing procurement.

This will delay completion of the planned upgrade of the Piccadilly Line, due in 2014, as TfL reviews the viability of combining it with work on other lines that share track - for example, the District Line, which is due for an upgrade by 2018.

Another £300m will be saved by cost-cutting measures to other transport schemes.

TfL commissioner Peter Hendy has told staff that these measures will be taken in response to the £2.17bn cut in funding from the Department for Transport in the spending review.
Most of the savings will be accounted for by better than expected fare revenue and by delaying the opening of Crossrail, as announced last month.

However, this further £600m package of cost savings has not so far been made public. In the email, sent on 20 October and seen by Building, Hendy says: “The end of the PPP means London Underground can look for synergies across the line upgrades to deliver them more efficiently.

“Through a combination of these measures and of further paring back cosmetic works at stations and deferral of non-essential civil works, over £300m will be saved.”

London transport sources confirmed that meant plans to improve stations were on hold,  with only major works to Victoria Station, Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road protected.
The attempt to find “synergies” will mean TfL bundling works for the Circle and District Lines, previously held by Metronet, with the Piccadilly, Northern and Jubilee Line works, previously looked after by Tube Lines.

Kulveer Ranger, mayor Boris Johnson’s transport adviser, said this rationalisation would end a ridiculous situation. “So now we have that bit of track, we can actually procure a contract that meets that requirement,” he said.

“It means the contractor can actually deliver what’s required, rather than two contractors having two different systems on the same part of track.”

A meeting of the TfL board was due to consider the issues yesterday.

A TfL spokesperson said: “Following months of hard negotiations, Crossrail, the tube upgrades and London’s extensive bus network have been protected. But some difficult decisions need to be taken, with some schemes being reduced in scope or stopped. The full implications of the spending review will be worked through as part of TfL’s business planning process.”

The spokesperson added that priority road safety schemes will continue.

  • The £51m refurbishment of Neasden Depot, London Underground’s largest train depot, is facing delays after London Underground refused to move into temporary accommodation provided by contractor Bam Nuttall.

London Underground’s 100 plus staff were supposed to move into purpose-built temporary accommodation in September to enable the old depot to be demolished and rebuilt. But London Underground has refused to leave the old depot because the temporary building lacks mains electricity.

Transport for London insisted the staff were moving this week and the delay would not affect delivery of the depot or the Metropolitan Line upgrade.

The other cuts

More than £300m additional cost savings from:

  • Complete restructure of TfL, called Project Horizon
  • Funding cuts for small-scale local authority transport schemes, worth £168m last year
  • Reduced maintenance of the 5% of London roads maintained by TfL on which it currently spends £125m
  • Plans to charge road users for parking on Tfl roads
  • Scaling back road safety schemes