‘Unsafe underground line should be shut’
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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