The threat of Tube strikes during the Olympics has lessened significantly after drivers said they would accept a payment of at least £500 for working during the event next year.
London Underground (LU) said it had agreed with unions temporary changes to working arrangements and payments during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games. In return, drivers employed by LU will receive a one-off payment of £500. Shifts which finish after 1.30am will attract extra payments.
The LU managing director, Mike Brown, said: "This agreement is a good deal for London Underground, our drivers and those thousands of customers who will be attending the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games. I am pleased we and the unions have been able to engage in constructive dialogue to reach this agreement."
About 3,500 Tube drivers are covered by the agreement. LU plans to run Tubes about an hour later than normal during the Games, on all lines, with last trains leaving central London between 1.30am and 2am.
The announcment came as the Transport Secretary admitted that the Britain's railways had become a "rich man's toy" and some fares were "eye-wateringly expensive".
Philip Hammond's comments came as he defended plans to build the HS2 high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham and eventually to the North of England. He admitted the new route would benefit the same group of more affluent passengers who could afford the fares on the existing West Coast Mainline.