Tube disruption 'every weekend till Olympics'

London Underground services will be disrupted every weekend until just before the Olympics in 2012, a report claimed today.

Commuters have faced reductions in services for years because of weekend engineering work to upgrade Tube lines, including last weekend when the entire Circle Line was suspended and others were part-suspended.

The Evening Standard said it had obtained figures under the Freedom of Information Act showing that track, signal and construction work would close or part-suspend many Tube lines every weekend until just before the Olympics, which will start on July 27 2012.

The figures also showed that the last time LU ran a full weekend service was 29/30 December 2007.



When a full service resumes on Saturday July 21 2012, there will have been a gap of three years and eight months since Tube bosses last ran a full weekend network, said the Standard.



The figures were published following weeks of delays and disruption because of problems including signal, train and power failures.



Meanwhile, hundreds of London Underground workers are to be balloted for strikes in a row over allegations of victimisation against two union members, threatening fresh disruption on the Tube.



The Rail Maritime and Transport union said several hundred workers would vote in the next few weeks on whether to take industrial action in support of the two men.



Members of the RMT and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association have staged a series of strikes in recent weeks and are planning another 24-hour walkout from Sunday evening (November 28).



Talks aimed at averting the next strike resumed today at the conciliation service Acas.



Voting in the two ballots will end on December 7, raising the threat of industrial action in the run-up to Christmas.



A Transport for London spokesman said: "It is completely irresponsible for the RMT to call a ballot for strike action when the disciplinary and appeal process for both drivers has not been exhausted and, in the case of the Northern Line driver, has not even started.



"For the RMT leadership to threaten to disrupt Londoners in this way shows a complete disregard for Tube passengers."



A report in Lawyer Magazine said that LU has trebled its legal spend in the past five years.



In the 2006 financial year, which ran from 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006, the transport body spent £4.3 million on legal fees, but by 2010 that figure had "ballooned" to £12.6 million, said the report.



Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT, said: "It is clear to the RMT that the vast bulk of this spend on lawyers relates to the collapse of the PPP and has helped plunge London Underground into financial chaos.



"Money that could have been spent on maintaining station staffing levels has been siphoned off in fat fees to City lawyers."



An LU spokesman said: "LU is carrying out the biggest upgrade in the Tube's history while carrying record numbers of passengers, over one billion last year. There is not enough time to do this work during the four hours each night when trains do not run and as a result much of this work must take place at weekends.



"We completely understand the frustration passengers feel when confronted by closures, but to replace track there is no option but to close the railway. Under TfL nearly 200km (125 miles) of track has been replaced, delivering smoother, more reliable journeys.



"It is also important to note that the vast majority of closures are not full line closures but are often short sections of lines where alternative Tube or other transport services are available, or are provided by TfL.



"Following the demise of the disastrous PPP, which gave the private companies the ability to demand weekend Tube closures, we are looking at ways of managing closures in a different way.



"We have already cancelled a huge number of closures planned by Tube Lines on the Northern line this year, and during the three-week closure of part of the Hammersmith branch this summer extensive Crossrail works were carried out alongside the Tube upgrade work.



"The new signalling system for the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines is being tendered on the basis of keeping weekend closures to an absolute minimum."

Labour's London Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone said: "Barely a day goes by without major delays and closures on the Tube and the weekend closures cause huge inconvenience for millions of Londoners. It's about time Boris Johnson got a grip of the situation and acted quickly to improve services."



Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London's transport adviser, said: "The capital has the oldest Tube system in the world and we cannot pretend it can be made fit for the future without considerable works to upgrade our systems. This Mayor has secured the funding to achieve that and by collapsing the failed public private partnership has ensured that his transport chiefs have more control over the process than at any point in recent years.



"We sympathise with every Londoner affected by weekend engineering work to upgrade the Tube, but this is absolutely crucial work. Our aim is always to minimise the impact of these works on customers and businesses and alternative methods of transport are provided for every closure."

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick