20 April 2015
RMT Press Office
Another Monday of signalling and train failures throws spotlight on looming chaos from Mayor's tube night running plans
TUBE UNION RMT today warned Londoners that this mornings disruption arising from signalling breakdowns and train failures on the Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Jubilee lines are a reminder of the serious challenges that face the overstretched tube infrastructure and fleet – challenges that are set to be deepened by the planned night running service due to be introduced later this year.
RMT has pointed out that even where lines aren't running all night LUL have no intention to segregate them acceptably from those that are,raising serious access issues such as dragging a 200lb piece of equipment down stairs shared with passengers and opening up potential security issues as the public, after a night on the town, have the opportunity to follow staff into what should be secure areas.
The union has also pointed out that night running means more train miles placing more stress on equipment, trains and the tubes ageing and over stressed infrastructure.
On the fleet and track key pieces of equipment need safety-critical checks every 72 hours and all night running makes that a huge logistical challenge. Ultrasonics testing (B Scan) has to be scheduled to allow for time afterwards to follow up and repair any faults that are identified. That work would end up compressed into impossible time frames.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The engineering and fleet issues that have arisen yet again on this monday morning are a massive reminder of just how challenging the environment is for the teams of staff out there day and night keeping London moving.
“Those challenges will be ratcheted up by the plans for night running, plans that the politicians say they now want to extend across the system and onto London Overground. RMT has said all along that we have no objection in principle to extended hours provided it isn’t being done as some half-baked personal publicity stunt, provided the engineering and service delivery issues are thoroughly addressed and provided the staffing and reward issues are properly dealt with.
“At the moment the plans fall on all three of those benchmarks and the talks with the unions have reached a critical point with the proposals coming from the management side leaving us miles apart.
“As it stands, night tube operation is a half-baked pompous, vanity project being rushed through by the Mayor to fuel his political ambitions to become Prime Minister. Londoners and tube staff are just pawns in this political game and RMT will not stand by while the viability and safety of the tube network is compromised in this cavalier fashion.”