Tube chiefs attacked on Jubilee Line delays

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The Independent Online

The overrunning and over budget Jubilee Line Extension project suffered from "a vac-uum" in London Underground management arrangements, an official report said yesterday.

The overrunning and over budget Jubilee Line Extension project suffered from "a vac-uum" in London Underground management arrangements, an official report said yesterday.

The extension, which takes visitors to the Millennium Dome, was originally supposed to cost £2.1bn and take 53 months to complete. It eventually cost £3.5bn (67 per cent more) and took 74 months to complete. Westminster station - the last to open - was ready only just in time for the Dome opening on 31 December last year.

LU "lacked the strategy and the structure and continuity of management to ensure the delivery of a working railway", said the report from the project's government-appointed advisers, the engineering company Ove Arup. It also said:

* No proper plans were prepared to verify the time target was achievable.

* LU management was unable to apply the appropriate level of strong and effective direction to the extension project team.

* LU proceeded to construction on the basis of incomplete design packages.

* LU included "untried and unproven high-technology bespoke control systems".

* The company did not appear to have any contingency in its own budget to cover the costs that were bound to arise.

* One of the time and cost consequences was the decision to "focus millennium celebrations on a site by North Greenwich station - introducing the absolute need for the line to be open to the public by the end of December 1999".

The report, which has been sent to the Government, said: "There was a vacuum in LU's management arrangements and when the time came to deliver the railway to the statutory authorities for approval to operate a public service, there was undefined leadership for this important stage of development of the railway that led, in our opinion, to confusion and vexation, which could and should have been avoided."

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