Posts Tagged ‘London Underground’

Euston Station not built to handle HS2

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

The controversial HS2 rail link to Birmingham from London could cause congestion at some London Underground stations which would negate the argument that it will save on travel times, according to Transport for London. The body’s deputy chairman, Daniel Moylen, has argued that if the scheme were to go ahead, then key stations such as Euston may need to shut down during rush-hour periods.

He explained that there was no space at Euston for an influx of thousands of additional passengers. It is estimated that an extra 3,400 commuters would try to use the station. The only way this would be possible, other than initiating a closure during the morning, would be an expansion project, Mr Moylen explained.

The new train line, which would transport passengers at up to 250mph, would not be opened before 2026. Critics of the project say the estimated budget of £33 billion would be much better spent improving the current transport infrastructure. There has also been much criticism of the planned route which would slice through areas of natural beauty.

Transport for London claims that if the scheme gets the green-light, then the number of people attempting to use the Victoria Line from Euston will double. It said a similar situation would affect the Northern Line.

HS2 has responded by claiming that, during the project’s primary phase, the number of passengers at Euston would only be expected to rise by around two per cent. A spokesman said HS2 would be prepared to work alongside TfL on any expansion project at the station.

Reduced Boxing Day train services hit travellers and retailers

Monday, December 26th, 2011

A strike by London Underground drivers, and a countrywide reduction in the number of train services, has meant travel problems for many who planned to travel over Boxing Day. LU tried last week to have the decision by the Aslef union to call its members out on strike blocked in the High Court. However, the judge said that the move was legal and permitted it to go ahead.

Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, said the dispute was over the rights of workers to take quality time off during the Christmas period. The union is demanding that those who do come into work on Boxing Day should be awarded triple pay, and a day off in lieu.

Chief operating officer for London Underground, Howard Collins, said that everything was being done to reduce the number of workers needed on the bank holiday. He has accused Aslef of ignoring the union agreements which are already in place governing levels of pay and work.

According to Colin Stanbridge of the London Chamber of Commerce, Aslef has been attempting to hold retailers to ransom at a time when a fragile economy is having to battle against weak consumer confidence and high unemployment.

Labour has slammed the coalition for failing to keep the trains running over Boxing Day. However, the Department for Transport claims that the number of services being run is comparable to recent Boxing Days, and has hit back at Labour saying that the party had failed to condemn the industrial action on the Tube.

Armed police to patrol train stations and Underground

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Warnings from security agencies that Britain could be the focus of a terrorist attack similar to the one which took place in Mumbai in 2008 have prompted the government to sanction armed police on transport networks. Philip Hammond, the transport secretary, told MPs that armed officers would be deployed at times of high alert, but would not be seen on the tube or at train stations on a daily basis.

Mr Hammond said that by giving British Transport Police officers the ability to carry out armed patrols some of the strain would be taken off other forces currently used for armed response duties in the capital. Counter-terrorism expert, John Yates, is urging regional forces to consider increasing their ranks of armed officers to protect against terrorist attacks.

Mr Hammond said the decision to equip the British Transport Police with armed units was not a response to a specific threat but a way of making sure that the necessary resources are available in the event that they are needed.

Chief constable of the BTP, Andy Trotter, said he agreed with Mr Hammond’s decision. He added that because officers already knew the rail network well, they were in a position to act quickly and efficiently should an incident occur.

The difficulty of policing a transport system such as the London Underground or the bus network was highlighted by the attacks of 7 July 2005. The terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 which resulted in the deaths of nearly 200 people also showed how vulnerable railway stations can be.

Strikes declared on London Underground

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Disruption on the London Underground is likely in the coming weeks as union bosses declare a series of strikes which will take place over a two week period. The industrial action is in protest over the sacking of two drivers. The first three days of walkouts are set to take place between Monday 16 May and Friday 20 May and the second set of three between Monday 13 June and Friday 17 June.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union claims that drivers Eamon Lynch and Arwyn Thomas were dismissed from their jobs as a direct result of their affiliation to the union. The cases are still to be heard by an employment tribunal, but Transport for London has denied the RMT’s allegations. A spokesman said it was ridiculous to suggest the men were removed from their jobs because of union activities.

He added that it was not fair of the RMT to call its members out on a strike before the matter had been addressed by a tribunal. TfL claims one of the drivers was dismissed because he had been abusive to his work colleagues and the other removed because he flouted safety regulations.

London Underground’s managing director, Mike Brown, said 1,300 drivers had been balloted and only 29 per cent had been in favour of industrial action. He added that the RMT appeared to have its mind made up about disrupting travel and damaging the economy over a number of days in the coming weeks.

He went on to say that TfL and London Underground would do their best to keep any disruption to a minimum.

Rail firms run extra Royal Wedding services

Friday, April 29th, 2011

The big day is finally here and London is bracing itself for a massive influx of visitors keen to see Kate Middleton and Prince William exchange their vows. Some 400,000 are expected to make their way into the capital by train. The Association of Train Operating Companies has said that operators are prepared, many of which have laid on extra services for the day.

ATOC added that most firms will carry around 15 per cent more passengers than they would expect to on an average bank holiday. A spokesman for the organisation said that around half will be running as if it were a normal weekday. Network Rail said it aimed to keep any disruption to a minimum by suspending maintenance work on lines into the capital.

London Underground has also confirmed there will be no maintenance work and so all lines will be open today. All Tube stations will also be kept open unless there is any danger posed by over crowding. General Secretary for the RMT union, Bob Crow, issued a warning that the capital’s underground network was already under pressure and that visitors may be running a travel lottery.

Peter Hendy, transport commissioner for London, said teams were already being deployed to make sure that everything runs smoothly for those making their way around the city.

According to travel body VisitBritain, London will have an extra 600,000 visitors today. The Metropolitan Police will have 5,000 officers deployed or on standby to ensure the safety and security of those enjoying the festivities of the Royal Wedding.

London travel advice for Royal Wedding celebrations

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Transport for London has been working closely with Westminster Council, the government and the Metropolitan Police to ensure that the large crowds expected in the capital on Friday for the Royal Wedding will be able to move around safely and efficiently. However, there will be the inevitable road closures and bus diversions, and visitors are being asked to plan their journeys so as to avoid any disruption.

London’s commissioner for transport, Peter Hendy, has assured visitors that teams will be deployed on the day to make sure that diversions and the closure of roads will be managed smoothly. He also said that there was no planned maintenance work on the London Underground so all lines would be operating.

Motorists are being advised to avoid travelling into the centre of the city on Friday as the route between Buckingham Palace and Westminster will be closed. This includes Whitehall, Parliament Square, Horse Guard’s and the Mall. Surrounding roads will also be closed or have parking restrictions.

Tube stations close to the procession route will remain open although London Underground has issued a warning that temporary closures could occur if they become overwhelmed. Victoria Station will also be operating a queuing system because of ongoing work.

Visitors intending to come into central London by bus are being warned that services to areas including Piccadilly, Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square and Westminster will be subject to diversions or stopped short of their usual destinations because of road closures. The DLR and Tramlink will run as usual.

Strikes to hit rail networks over festive season

Friday, December 17th, 2010

A raft of strikes across rail networks is likely to disrupt passengers intending to travel over Christmas and into the New Year. On 23 December the industrial action kicks off as Aslef members driving trains on London Midland have said they intend to walk out in protest over wages and working conditions. The misery continues for those who intend to travel in the capital on Boxing Day.

London Underground has refused demands that drivers be paid triple time for working on the bank holiday. This means that around half of the tube drivers have said they will not be turning up for work. The decision is likely to hinder those intending to seek out bargains in the central London sales as well as those looking forward to seeing a football match.

Disputes over job cuts are likely to affect the London network well into the New Year. Elsewhere, drivers on the Arriva Trains Wales network are due to strike over levels of pay. The results of a ballot by conductors on the Northern Rail network early next week could well see industrial action taking place just after Christmas

Passengers on Southeastern Trains might not be facing a happy New Year when the ballot is announced on whether or not to strike over the issue of staff levels.

Passenger Focus chief executive, Antony Smith, said it was not fair that the passenger should be punished by strike action. As well as urging all parties to find a solution, he added that passengers must be given adequate warning of strikes so they can make alternative plans.