‘Un­safe un­der­ground line should be shut’

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

UN­DER­GROUND users have en­coun­tered re­cur­ring prob­lems with the Pic­cadilly Line be­ing se­verely de­layed over the last week, with a lack of avail­able trains be­ing the com­mon is­sue.

The tube union, the RMT, has re­sponded to the prob­lem by claim­ing the line should be closed and the Night Tube ser­vice de­layed un­til trains are safe.

The Na­tional Union of Rail, Mar­itime and Trans­port Work­ers (RMT) de­manded ur­gent dis­cus­sions should be held at top level to dis­cuss the lines clo­sure un­til trained are re­paired.

Un­til the “ma­jor prob­lem of flat­ted wheels” are re­solved, the union has said the Night Tube plans, set to launch De­cem­ber 16, should be post­poned for pas­sen­ger and staff safety.

RMT Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Mick Cash said: “The en­tire Pic­cadilly line fleet of trains has got a ma­jor en­gi­neer­ing prob­lem which has fi­nally boiled over. It’s noth­ing new and it is down to pres­sure on ser­vices and sheer man­age­rial in­com­pe­tence. The at­tempt to shift the blame onto driv­ers and fleet en­gi­neers is dis­grace­ful.

“Those work­ers, along with the sta­tion staff, have slogged their guts out to keep pas­sen­gers safe and trains mov­ing.”

He added: “The prob­lem is flat­ted wheels, which mean the train has to come off the road for a chunk of time to have the wheel checked and lathed back to safe tol­er­ances.

“London Un­der­ground fleet en­gi­neers have worked under im­pos­si­ble man­age­ment pres­sure to keep ser­vices run­ning.

“But now the sheer dan­ger of mas­sive de­lays and over­crowd­ing means that the ser­vice on the Pic­cadilly line is in­her­ently un­safe and will get worse under Night Tube.”

Mr Cash warned the 43-year-old trains needed to be prop­erly ex­am­ined or com­muters can ex­pect fur­ther de­lays.

London com­muters have seen a string of strikes crip­ple their travel after South­ern Rail strikes hit the cap­i­tal, with more set to go ahead the same dates as Ham­mer­smith and City and Pic­cadilly Line walk­outs.

Mick Whe­lan, leader of Aslef, the UK union for train driv­ers and op­er­a­tors, said: “Our trade dis­pute with the com­pany is that there should be no in­tro­duc­tion and or ex­ten­sion of new driver-only op­er­ated routes on South­ern with­out the agree­ment of Aslef. We have gen­uinely sought to reach a com­pro­mise with South­ern.

“We have al­ways been pre­pared to talk to the com­pany and we have al­ways been of the view that it should be pos­si­ble to do a deal, but it takes two to tango and the com­pany has not been pre­pared to ne­go­ti­ate.”

RMT is wait­ing on an ur­gent re­sponse from Mayor Sadiq Khan and Trans­port for London.

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