Tube Lines is preparing to take on some of Metronet’s contracts, following last month’s news that its fellow tube maintenance company had gone into administration.
“We are watching and waiting,” said Alex Foulds, director of business planning at Tube Lines, which is responsible for the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines. “There are different ways of slicing the cake.”
He said Tube Lines had identified some sectors where it would make sense for it to take over. “There are certain areas where we interface with Metronet and there would be some logic to taking those on,” he said.
One example is the Piccadilly line. This is Tube Lines’ responsibility, apart from the section that runs parallel with the District and Circle line, which falls under Metronet’s remit.
“That section is the worst performing of all the lines,” said Foulds, “whereas the rest of the Piccadilly line is the best. That doesn’t give the right message to passengers”.
Foulds added that Tube Lines had not set up a separate team to look at Metronet opportunities. Instead, it is focusing on existing contracts so it is in the position to pick up extra work once the administrator, Ernst & Young, officially decides how to proceed.
Tube Lines has been more successful than Metronet in meeting targets, particularly in the station upgrade programme. Its work on the Northern line control centre in north London, for example, which includes a green roof, is almost complete. Metronet’s main problems and cost overruns have occurred on its station upgrade programme.
This week it emerged that Ernst & Young had appointed investment bank Rothschild to value Metronet’s operations and contracts. After the valuation process, expected to finish by the end of September, Ernst & Young will consider whether to invite formal bids.
London Underground said last week that it wanted to take two Metronet contracts back in-house for two years, and did not ruled out taking over permanently. It submitted a formal expression of interest to Ernst & Young.
Tim O’Toole, managing director of London Underground, said: “We seek to put in place a stable, economical and efficient structure, better able to deliver investment priorities.” He said contracts would be restructured.
For more on Metronet go to www.building.co.uk/archive