Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Metronet (LU 10)

  Metronet welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Select Committee. We are committed to openness in our relationship with all stakeholders including Government, Parliament, the Mayor, TfL and the Greater London Authority.

  The purpose of this memorandum is to provide written information in advance of Metronet's appearance at the Committee's oral evidence session on Wednesday 28 November. This document provides an overview of:

    —  The Metronet consortium

    —  The improvements we will deliver for the Tube network under the PPP

    —  Our approach towards safety.


    —  Metronet is the consortium, formed in the summer of 1999, that has been appointed preferred bidder for Infraco BCV—Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines and for Infraco SSL—Metropolitan, District, Circle, Hammersmith & City and East London lines.

    —  Metronet is made up of equal partners Bombardier Transportation (formerly Adtranz), SEEBOARD Group plc, Balfour Beatty plc, and Thames Water Plc and WS Atkins plc.

    —  The consortium has detailed experience and expertise in project management and planning, railway engineering and asset management and a wide range of other technical disciplines.


  The contracts require Metronet to deliver substantial improvements to the London Underground network.


Bakerloo Line

  In the first four years of the contract we will deliver vital improvements to the signalling system and replace the areas of track that are the most critical for improving performance. The reliability of the signalling system south of Queen's Park will be improved and delays caused by equipment failures reduced by 38 per cent. This will continue to improve so that by the end of the first period of the contract failures are almost halved (to 49 per cent). We will replace 8.2km of track, including sections between Elephant & Castle and Lambeth North, and between Warwick Avenue and Kilburn Park.

  Train capacity will be increased by 6 per cent in the peak by increasing the number of trains available from 32 to 34. This will reduce both passenger waiting times and overcrowding. The off-peak fleet will have an additional train made available giving a total of 27.

Central Line

  Our plan is to invest £18 million in signalling upgrades in the first seven and a half years of the contract. Work to optimise the existing signalling and control system will be completed by the end of year four, allowing the peak service on the line to increase from 27 (at present) to 33 trains an hour, reducing both crowding and journey times.

  In the first three years of the contract we plan to replace 21 km of track including the critical section between Liverpool Street and Stratford. Also in the first three years, train capacity is planned to increase from 76 trains to 79 trains in peak and 54 trains to 67 trains off-peak. This will mean shorter waiting times on platforms and less crowding on trains.

Victoria Line

  The Victoria Line will be the first line to be completely upgraded with the tracks, trains and signals being replaced with new equipment.

  In the first three years of the contract we plan to replace 9km of track including sections between Warren Street to Kings Cross and Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park.

  Our plan is to have a completely new set of trains in operation by 2009—a year before we are contractually required to by London Underground. These will include CCTV in every carriage and digital information systems.

  Stations will be refurbished to include better CCTV to improve security and more reliable escalators. Work will also be undertaken to relieve congestion at stations like Brixton and Green Park.

  The new signalling will allow London Underground to run a more frequent and reliable service. In the first period of the contract delays caused by equipment failures will be reduced by 35 per cent.

  When the new fleet of trains becomes fully operational in year nine, the journey time from one end of the line to the other, between Walthamstow and Brixton, will be reduced by an average of seven minutes.

Waterloo & City Line

  The Waterloo & City Line will be upgraded, including increased signalling capacity, by the end of year five of the contract. This combined with an additional train at the end of year four will increase the number of passengers the system can carry by 25 per cent. In addition, delays caused by equipment failures will be reduced by 45 per cent in the first period.


Circle Line

  The Circle Line links many of London's mainline railway stations and provides passengers with alternatives to crossing the centre of London. Improvements will be made to the tracks and points in the first period to achieve a smoother and more reliable service. Since much of the Circle Line is also used by trains on the Hammersmith and City, District, and Metropolitan Lines, the benefits of this investment will be felt by a considerable number of passengers.

  Major work will be carried out at King's Cross St Pancras to significantly enlarge the station with a completely new ticket hall. This will provide improved access to six Tube lines as well as to the planned station for the high-speed line to the Channel Tunnel.

Hammersmith & City Line

  The stations at each end of the Hammersmith & City Line—Hammersmith and Aldgate East—are just two examples of the stations which will benefit from modernisation, with Aldgate East being completed in the first two years. Benefits will include better lighting and signage and improved security.

District Line

  We will refurbish the District Line rolling stock in the first four years, installing CCTV in every carriage to improve security and improving levels of lighting and cleanliness. We will also improve tracks and signalling to give better reliability and reduce journey times. These improvements are planned to be completed within the first seven and a half years of the contract. This will also be the timeframe for extensive station improvements. As an example, step free access will be provided at East Putney Station and there will be a thorough modernisation of Earls Court.

Metropolitan Line

  There will be a 5 per cent capacity increase in the first period of the contract, enabling more customers to use the line, leading to a reduction in journey times.

East London Line

  The East London Line will be maintained to provide a reliable and effective service.


  Metronet, and its shareholders are totally committed to the safety of the travelling public who use the Underground and to the workforce who operate and maintain the system.

  Under the PPP London Underground holds the statutory safety case for the operation of London Underground and this will not change. This safety case is supervised by Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate (HMRI). Each Infraco will have its own safety case which demonstrates compliance with all safety legislation and the LUL safety case. Any change that might have a safety implication is subject to review by London Underground and HMRI both of who have a right to veto. We take our safety responsibilities very seriously, and this was part of the assessment process undertaken by London Underground.

  Metronet has already formed a top-level Board Safety Committee, led by an independent chairman with membership from Metronet and safety and line management of all our shareholders, which has met monthly for over twelve months. We also plan to carry out safety leadership training and assessment for our top managers. Future management bonus schemes will have a safety trigger to be achieved before any payment. We believe that safety is the responsibility of every individual within Metronet and will ensure a safety culture throughout our organisation.


  Under the PPP, Metronet will be fully accountable to the public sector. Our contracts will be with London Underground, which will be under the control of Transport for London which in turn will be accountable to the Mayor. Our performance will be closely monitored by TfL and the amount that we are paid will be dependent upon us meeting the obligations in the contract. Metronet will be penalised if they do not meet the targets set by London Underground. We will only receive bonuses if the targets, which are based on improvements to the current performance, are bettered. If we fail to deliver the improvements demanded then we will have to pay substantial financial penalties.


  Metronet's joint venture partners have substantial knowledge and experience of operating, maintaining and extending extensive asset bases. In addition to their substantial knowledge of asset management, Seeboard and Thames Water Utilities have experience of operating within a tightly regulated performance regime. Balfour Beatty Rail Ltd has experience of maintaining and renewing Railtrack's assets (track, signalling and electrification systems) and currently maintains in excess of 25 per cent of the UK's rail network in a highly regulated, safety-critical environment.

  Seeboard has invested in the MIMS asset-based management system to enable it improve its performance. Balfour Beatty Rail Ltd is currently investing £8.5 million in developing a version of this system tailored for railways, known as AM 2000, covering permanent way, signalling, electrical and other infrastructures.

  Combining key Metronet resources with experienced personnel from within the existing Infraco would provide London Underground with firm assurance of the effectiveness and robust nature of our asset management regime. We will immediately introduce programmes to share and disseminate our asset management skills throughout Infraco. This will enable Infraco employees to establish and maintain best practice, to understand better the cost implications of their actions and to monitor and track the whole life cost of assets.


  We know that without the experience and dedication of our staff we will not be able to deliver the world class Underground we all want to see.

  Since being selected as preferred bidder for Infraco SSL and Infraco BCV Metronet has made communication with our prospective workforce and their representatives a key priority. Altogether there are 2300 employees with Infraco BCV and 2400 with Infraco SSL. Our senior managers have personally met with two-thirds of the employees from Infraco BCV in their workplace and are in the process of doing the same for Infraco SSL. All employees have received a letter giving assurances that after transfer they will continue to be paid as normal, their pension arrangements are safe and they will still have their travel concessions. We continue to have a constructive dialogue with the trades unions.


  Metronet has the skills, the knowledge and the ability along with sound financial backing to help turn London Underground into a system fit for the 21st century.

  The PPP is all about partnership and we are therefore confident that we can maintain a close working relationship with Mr Kiley, his team and the Mayor to ensure that, together, we can give the travelling public the world class Underground our Capital deserves. The important thing now is delivery. It is very much our wish to be able to get on and start this at the earliest opportunity.

October 2001

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