RMT Demands End To ‘Dangerous’ LUL Plan To Halve Train Maintenance In Latest Move To Put Cuts Before Safety

LONDON UNDERGROUND intends to halve the frequency of maintenance on trains on the Metropolitan Line despite a manufacturer’s report which reveals that the safety implications of doing so have not been considered, the Tube’s biggest union reveals today.

The latest evidence of dangerous LUL cost-cutting comes on the heels of the revelation that the inspections of the ‘tripcock’ fail-safe equipment on the same trains would be slashed from daily to every 60 days. It also follows revelations that it was cuts to inspections and a dash for automation that led to the deaths of nine people in 2009 on the Washington DC Metro.

RMT reps will demand that the proposals are dropped when they meet with Tube safety bosses tomorrow (Friday November 4).

The union says that a study of maintenance on the new S8 stock by Bombardier flatly contradicts LUL’s assertion that the trains were designed for a 60-day maintenance cycle and that a 30-day cycle was an interim measure while a mileage-based regime was developed.

The 32-page report points out that “a 30-day maintenance regime was ultimately progressed in preference to a 60-day regime to mitigate identified safety risks”, and that a 30-day regime had been developed with LUL throughout 2010.

The report, written in September, establishes that a distance-based regime should be based on the equivalent of the 30-day regime (around 12,500 km), and that mileage limits would be “absolute” with no tolerance permitted.

It points out that a move to a 60-day (25,000km) regime had not been considered, and that the feasibility of any extended regime could not even be discussed until the distance-based regime had been implemented.

It also says that a separate study should be carried out on S7 Hammersmith and City and District Line stock, yet LUL also insists that a 60-day regime will be applied to all sub-surface lines.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said:

“This is yet more damning evidence of LUL’s increasingly cavalier attitude towards the safety of passengers and staff in its blind determination to cut costs on all fronts. RMT has already warned that it was the poisonous cocktail of cuts and automation that led to the nine deaths on the Washington DC Metro in 2009 and that we will fight any dilution of tube safety in London to the hilt.

“LUL told our fleet safety reps that these trains were designed for a 60-day maintenance regime, yet the trains’ makers say quite clearly that that has not even been considered.

“Our reps will be meeting LUL safety chiefs tomorrow and we expect a categorical assurance that existing maintenance and inspection frequencies will remain in place.”