Signal turns green at last for Tubelines

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The Independent Online

Tubelines, the consortium bidding for the £4bn contract to privatise part of the Tube, is finally expected to take over its section this week.

Barring any last-minute hitches, London Underground will transfer the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines to the consortium, so concluding the first part of the drawn-out and expensive PPP.

The Metronet group, which is to take over the rest of the Tube network, is not yet in a position to conclude its deal. However, it is hoped that it will assume control of the other Underground lines within a few weeks.

Tubelines has only two remaining partners – Bechtel, the US construction and engineering giant, and Jarvis, the controversial British maintenance firm – after Amey had to be bought out.

Despite that hiccup, the consortium has raised over £1.5bn of finance from City banks to fund the PPP deal.

Metronet, which is backed by the likes of Balfour Beatty, WS Atkins and Thames Water, has yet to complete its funding for the deal as it needs to raise a bond worth more than £1bn from the City.

The Tube PPP was due to have been completed more than nine months ago but has been held up because of legal battles with the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. The Government has had to underwrite more than £200m of costs for the bidders so the deal can be concluded.