Transport Committee The ppp: Two Years In

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Engineering over-runs

Metronet is acutely conscious of the severe disruption to London Underground and Tube passengers when engineering works over-run. Metronet has no imperative for works to over-run and completely refutes the suggestion that this might be the case. The type of work typically falls into two categories: i) that which is planned (for example the renewal of track, often programmed many months in advance, yet still vulnerable to unforeseen events, such as plant breakdowns) or work that is considered important for the safe operation of the Tube following routine inspection, and is to be undertaken within a matter of days, and ii) that which is unplanned, typically of an urgent nature, following routine night inspections and considered vital for immediate repair or mitigation prior to the resumption of passenger service. In respect of the latter, the potential can always exist for an over-run.

Safety remains at the top of Metronet's agenda with a key focus on improving the processes, systems and culture, with the frequency of lost time injuries reducing. During the first part of its second year Metronet appointed Heads of Safety (Operations) in each of its companies to deliver a ‘DuPont' approach of a zero recordable injury rate in the capital programme and maintenance departments.

DuPont's ‘best practice' safety techniques are being rolled out across all levels of management and management systems within Metronet, with a key focus on safety leadership. Metronet has also initiated a ‘Top-Set', best-in-class, investigation system training for staff to ensure a consistently higher quality of investigation and better use of root cause analysis.

A thorough investigation with London Underground established the root causes of the White City derailment in May 2004 and the recommendations are being implemented. In particular, element’s of Metronet’s management processes were found to be unsatisfactory and steps have been taken rectify these shortcomings.

In the wake of the Chancery Lane incident, before Transfer to Metronet, depot organisation on the Central line has been radically overhauled by the Director of Fleet.

Metronet has been proactive in lowering the risks surrounding signals passed at danger as a result of equipment failure, broken rails and track fires, targeting known trouble spots. The number of small track fires has been reduced significantly during the current year. For the year to date, there has been 165 track fires; these numbered 256 for the comparable period last year. This result has largely been achieved through vigourous attention to the cleaning of track lubricators, thereby helping to ensure that surplus grease does not act as a collecting point for litter and other debris – together with the introduction of a device to suppress sparks from power collector ‘shoes’.

Working in partnership with London Underground

Metronet, Tube Lines and London Underground have all agreed to use a standard software package for reporting project progress. It is planned to ‘go-live’ with this system at the beginning of April, 2005.

For MRBCV, good progress has been made with London Underground in agreeing cost recovery from the events which followed the Chancery Lane incident and for which MRBCV had an indemnity at the point of transfer of the network to its responsibility. London Underground is settling all performance code issues with MRBCV, relating to Availability and the penalties suffered. Final agreement has almost been reached on the costs incurred to date in restoring the trains to service and on the extra cost of maintenance which MRBCV will incur until modifications to the bogies are complete.

Additional works have been requested by London Underground at Walthamstow and Shepherd's Bush. For MRSSL, more than 900 minor works projects have been completed at the request of London Underground during the current financial year. The removal of trackside graffiti between Barons Court and Hammersmith is one such example. MRSSL's performance has been good with 96 per centof projects being completed to the required timescales.

Three larger ‘intermediate' works have also been completed by MRSSL to time during the first six months of the year, including a customer information facility at Harrow-on-the-Hill. These works are provided for under the PPP contract but represent an increase in the scope of work that Metronet delivers on behalf of London Underground.


The people who work for Metronet have been subjected to significant change since their transfer from London Underground. The management of this change and achieving a transformation in values, attitudes and behaviours is fundamental. During 2004/5, the Company has developed ‘The Metronet Way’, a strategy founded on a new organisational culture that focuses on performance, achievement and delivery.

The key values of The Metronet Way are enshrined in a Metronet vision for ‘Getting London to Work’, through a belief in health, safety and the environment, its people, customer service, performance, partnership, and value for money. Metronet's commitment to its customer calls for ‘promises to be kept’, the creation of ‘a great place to work’, and a pledge to ‘look after the investment’. In the long-term, Metronet aspires to deliver to the passenger ‘a great journey every time’.

Leading Change workshops have already been held for some 900 managers to implement this transformation and Metronet is in the process of engaging all 5,000 staff through a series of workshops to which every individual is encouraged to attend.

Financial report for 2003/04

Metronet's financial performance during its first year of operation was in line with expectation and the forecasts contained within the PPP bid. For the year ended 31 March, 2004, the combined pre-tax profit for Metronet Rail BCV Limited, and Metronet Rail SSL Limited, amounted to £50.6 million. Combined turnover for the first year amounted to £599.1 million.

The profits are retained in the business until the conclusion of the first 7.5 year contract period.

The figures secure a robust earnings stream for the two businesses in order to support the very large capital programme for the renewal of the Tube. The full Reports and Financial Statements for the two businesses are available from Metronet's website,

Appendix F - Tube Lines’ memorandum to the London Assembly Transport Committee on improvements to the network

  1. Tube Lines is extremely concerned at the statistics reported in the Evening Standard of 8 March, which do not present a true picture of the capital expenditure and upgrade work completed since transfer.

  1. All of Tube Lines’ investment programmes are running on time.

  1. On track, in the first 7½ years, we are committed to renewing 63km of track. To date, we have renewed 17.4km, or 28per cent. This figure is roughly commensurate with the fact that we are just under 30 per cent of the way through the first 7½ years. In the last financial year, we delivered 100 per cent of planned track renewal work and this year we are on target to deliver 97per cent.

  1. On escalator refurbishments, we delivered 100 per cent of our planned programme in the last financial year and in this financial year we are on target to deliver 120 per centof the programme. There has been no downward revision and indeed we have initiated a variety of innovations which allowed us to refurbish an escalator at Green Park in 9 weeks 4 days instead of the usual 26 weeks.

  1. On lift refurbishments, we have not revised down our plans. Our targets are linked to maintaining good asset condition on the lifts, which need not necessarily constitute a refurbishment. To achieve this, we have adjusted the nature of our programme and are carrying out minor works on 45 lifts this year instead of the major works at six sites as originally intended.

  1. On station refurbishments, Tube Lines has completed seven (West Hampstead, Kilburn, Borough, South Harrow, Northfields, Burnt Oak and Arnos Grove) and two more (Kennington and Tufnell Park) are in line for completion by the end of March. The only other station which was scheduled for completion by the end of March – Acton Town – is on hold pending discussions between London Underground and Tube Lines in relation to the addition of a lift for mobility impaired people to the scope of the upgrade.

  1. The Committee might also like to note that investment committed to the upgrade of the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly Lines has almost tripled since transfer. The amount of work being carried out on site has quadrupled.

  1. We would be happy to provide further information if this would be helpful.

Appendix G

Supplementary Memorandum to the London Assembly Transport Committee

  1. Tube Lines notes the Committee’s request for information on areas where Tube Lines has been able to accommodate a request from London Underground for work beyond that which is outlined in the contract.

  1. Tube Lines has accommodated a variety of requests from London Underground to undertake major pieces of work on top of that which is specified in the contract. This includes, among other projects:

  • The enlargement and reconstruction of Wembley Park station, to accommodate spectators travelling to the new National Stadium at Wembley. This work will be completed in late 2005

  • Signalling and other design and enabling work on the Piccadilly Line extension to Heathrow Terminal 5

  • Feasibility studies into the provision of step free access at 25 stations

  • Work at Waterloo East mainline station aimed at preventing water ingress

  • Design work for the provision of additional escalators at North Greenwich station to reduce congestion at the station once the Dome reopens

  1. Tube Lines has also accommodated a variety of requests from London Underground to undertake smaller items of work in addition to that specified in the contract. These components of work range from simple jobs, such as supplying additional noticeboards and putting up shelves to more complex jobs such as making provision for on train announcements on the Piccadilly Line fleet and the erection of platform end barriers at a number of stations. On average, Tube Lines responds positively to in excess of 500 requests per year from London Underground for works such as these.

  1. In addition, we have put forward proposals in response to requests from London Underground, to set out how engineering work might be undertaken in the event of late running services on Friday and Saturday nights. We have also put forward a proposal on how partial line closures on the Northern Line could be used to bring forward the timetable for various improvement works.

  1. As Tim O’Toole explained on 10 March, we have an output based contract. This means that we are contractually obliged to deliver specified improvements in performance and service levels by certain dates rather than to carry out individual components of work at certain times. We have introduced a significant number of innovations to allow us to meet those performance targets quicker and better and to provide improvements to Londoners as soon as possible.

  1. We have introduced a variety of innovations to improve safety. For example:

  • Together with Metronet, we have introduced a vehicle-based ultrasonic testing regime which enables us to quadruple the amount of track which it is able to test at any one time.

  • We have introduced lightweight tools to reduce back injuries incurred by staff and, through this, reduce the amount of time lost due to injury.

  1. We have taken steps to reduce the time taken to refurbish escalators, by improving planning processes and ensuring that more work is completed off site. The normal time taken to a refurbish an escalator has been 26 weeks, but we recently carried out a pilot project where we refurbished an escalator at Green Park in nine weeks and four days. We have now reviewed the lessons learnt from this exercise and are seeking to roll out a programme to reduce the amount of time taken to renew escalators elsewhere on the network, starting with the refurbishment of an escalator at Camden Town, which has just begun.

  1. We have sought to increase the amount of work which is carried out during the day, as opposed to during night-time engineering hours, in order to reduce the amount of time needed to deliver improvements, but without having to close stations or reduce the service to passengers. For example, in late 2004, we agreed with London Underground a trial programme of work to carry out painting, cleaning and the provision of increased signage at Leicester Square station.

  1. As part of our strategy to ensure that we have the necessary resources, we work to retain and recruit employees of the highest calibre and we have taken steps to tackle skill shortages in certain areas of the business. We have invested in excess of £10 million in a training centre in Stratford, dedicated to providing a range of courses, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from basic safety training for office-based employees to two year advanced technical courses. This will open in summer 2005. The centre will develop partnerships with local educational establishments, boosting opportunities for skills training in the local area.

Within the centre, there will be specialist training school providing two year courses for signalling engineers. The signalling school will have a capacity to train 100 signalling engineers at any one time, with 28 full technical officers completing the course each year. The first engineers will come off the programme in autumn 2006. We believe that this will reverse the long term deficit of signalling engineers which is one of the underlying factors behind signal failures.

  1. We invested around £400,000 in putting in place a state-of-the-art control centre at our headquarters in Canary Wharf, which provides the nerve centre for recording and addressing faults on the network, as and when they occur, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This centre replaced the old system which we inherited at transfer which was non-dedicated and outmoded.

  1. We have invested £30 million in integrating hundreds of processes and IT systems which the company inherited from London Underground, to create a single system which facilitates more efficient asset management, business planning and maintenance of the network. This programme was completed in late 2004.

  1. We have modernised the process for pre-empting points failures resulting from cold weather. This was achieved by introducing a helicopter to carry out surveys from the air of all of the heating equipment on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly Lines above ground, to ensure that they were in good working order and to spot areas where repairs were needed, in advance of the winter. As Tim O’Toole acknowledged during the Committee’s hearing, the recent cold weather passed without any major disruptions to service.

Appendix H – Metronet Submission to the Committee, May 2005
This is a schedule containing examples where Metronet companies have been able to accommodate a request from London Underground for work beyond that which is outlined in the contract. Whilst it is only a snapshot, the actual list being infinitely larger, I hope it serves to give the Committee an understanding of the diverse nature of these works.  I trust it is helpful for your purposes. Please let me know if there is anything further that you may require.


Director of Communications

Metronet Rail


Metronet Rail, Communications Department

Templar House, 81-87 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NU, UK
Schedule of example works where Metronet companies have responded to requests from London Underground, beyond the PPP contract

  1. Installed platform end barriers to prevent passengers accessing the track. Approximate value £1 million.

  2. Expansion of the ‘Tracker system’ coverage to incorporate sections of the District and Metropolitan lines. Approximate value £3.1 million.

  3. Adjustments to train-platform interfaces at 7 stations. Approximate value £0.4 million.

  4. Relocation of District line command function from Earls Court to Baker Street. Approximate value £0.5 million.

  5. Installation of remote positive train identification and recording facilities at 7 stations. Approximate value £0.6 million.

  6. Southern entrance ticket hall works to Euston Square station. Approximate value £4.2 million.

  7. New depot facilities, White City development. Approximate value £0.5 million.

  8. Provide an upgrade of LV lighting in support of the Connect project. Approximate value £6.7 million.

  9. Preparatory/ feasibility works related to the future introduction of a 7thth car to Circle line trains. Approximate value £0.5 million.

  10. Undertake works related to the provision, installation and maintenance of saloon air conditioning systems on all new sub-surface trains. Approximate value £40 million.

  11. Undertake a trial of ground water cooling systems at Victoria station. Approximate value £0.5 million.

  12. Provide various works above ground in connection with the White City Development. Approximate value £2.2 million.

  13. Undertake CCTV works at Chancery lane station. Approximate value £0.4 million.

  14. Provide an extension of Tracker facilities for the Waterloo & City line. Approximate value £0.5 million.

  15. Provide an upgrade to security systems for service control rooms. Approximate value £0.4 million.

  16. Provide services in connection with the Notting Hill congestion relief programme. Approximate value £0.4 million.

  17. Fit out the subway at Walthamstow station. Approximate value £4 million.

  18. Provide specialist works to the network customer information display system. Approximate value £0.5 million.

  1. Provide ventilation improvements for the Victoria line fleet cabs. Approximate value £3.3 million.

  1. Provide site-wide diversions of cables at the White City development. Approximate value £0.75 million.

May 2005

1 See

2 Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

3 Assembly Plenary, April 2005

4 TfL Board papers, 18 May 2005

5 Are the PPPs a good deal? June 2004

6 TfL monitor performance by 13 four-week periods over the financial year.

7 Journey times are measured by monitoring excess journey times. Excess journey time is the difference between actual journey time and the time predicted if services run to time and there are no delays

8 A full set of figures is attached as Appendix A and was obtained from the Mayor via a written response to a question from Roger Evans AM.

9 TfL Board Papers, 18 May 2005, Report 4, Paragraph, 4.7

10 Terry Morgan, Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

11 John Weight, Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

12 See Appendix C for detailed monthly breakdown.

13 John Weight, Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

14 As above

15 Tim O’Toole, Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

16 The Guardian, Monday 21 February 2005

17 Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

18 As above

19 As above

20 As above

21 Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

Page 19, Managing Director’s Performance Report to the Underground Advisory Panel, January 2005

22 TfL Board Papers, 18 May 2005, Report 4, Paragraph 4.12

23 Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

24 Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

25 Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

26 The Guardian, Monday 21 February 2005

27 Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

28 As above

29 Letter to Lynne Featherstone, 13 May 2005, See Appendix J

30 Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

31 National Audit Office – Are the PPPs likely to work successfully? 17 June 2004

32 Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

Letter to Lynne Featherstone, 30 March 2005, See AppendixJ

33 Tim O’Toole, Transcript of Transport Committee meeting 10 March 2005

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