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Reliability problems hit Met Line services

posted 18 Oct 2010, 11:03 by Tomo   [ updated 18 Oct 2010, 11:24 ]
There have been a number of issues that have affected the reliability of services on the Metropolitan Line recently. This morning commuters on the Met Line were faced with severe delays due to a shortage of trains, and then later a signal failure at Baker Street. What little services we had at the weekend were further disrupted by late finishes to engineering work, trespassers, and signal failures. And there were a catalogue of issues last week as well.

The shortage of trains is due to premature failures in some components on rolling stock that were identified last week and meant that a number of District Line trains were removed from service for emergency repairs (see BBC News article). Further maintenance work has identified that similar components affect other Underground trains. Other issues relate to fuses protecting the carriage heaters, and other proactive checks that would be undertaken that can for example reduce the noise that trains make when cornering in tunnels.

Industrial relations between Underground Management and Union staff appear to strained at best; there's an ongoing overtime ban for maintenance staff; the unions state that this is causing operational issues within the maintenance depots and there's a backlog of work which has directly caused some of the delays and cancellations being experienced currently by passengers (see today's article in the Evening Standard) but Underground management have stated that this is not the case and the overtime ban will affect their ability to recover from service outages, but all ongoing maintenance is up to schedule. It's also been reported that management have sought to use some of the new S-Stock trains on the Metropolitan Line to ease the pressure created from the shortage of rolling stock

Combine the issues affecting the maintenance of trains with the ongoing operational issues our aging Metropolitan Line infrastructure has to deal with - track circuit and signal failures, points failures, and the poor passengers are being hit with a double whammy of incidents and disruptions. And we still have to wait to see if the Government spending review will protect the investment required for the signal upgrade, whilst dishing out significant cuts in the overall transport budget and the threat that the cap will be taken off train ticket prices so that ticket prices could be rising by about 10% in the new year (see last section in tonights Evening Standard comment), and it doesn't seem like it's going to be a good commuting experience for the next couple of years.

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