Signal Failure on the District Line

Metronet deny accusations of 'unacceptable performance'

  Related Links

More weekend disruption on the District and Circle lines

London Underground On-line Complaint form

Mayor breaks promise on public transport fares

Congestion Charging coming west

Ken calls school run 4x4 drivers 'idiots'

Conservatives on the Greater London Assembly are claiming that new figures for the performance on the tube show that the District Line is by far the worst for signal failure.

The figures were released to the public following questions to the Mayor's office.

From 9th January to 30rd April there were 145 signal failures on the District Line and April saw the highest number with 61 (3rd - 30th April). Failures were nearly double that seen on the next worst service - the Northern line. This reverses the trend of last year when failures were reduced. Overall between January and April failures on the network were up by 43%

Conservative transport spokesman and Chairman of the London Assembly Transport Committee Roger Evans said, "Each and every signal failure on the Tube causes massive inconvenience for tens of thousands of passengers - and is therefore unacceptable. That the number of failures has increased by 43% in just four months is a disgrace. The Infracos have some serious explaining to do."

He added that the Infracos had some serious explaining to do and suggested that they were choosing not to cut down on signal failures despite it being in their power to do so. The District Line is currently maintained by Metronet as part of the PPP scheme.

Metronet say the figures quoted by the Tories have taken the worst performing month in which disruption was caused by unusually wet weather and compared it with the best performing to create an unfair impression of deteriorating performance. A spokesperson for the company said, "The GLA Conservatives have been highly selective when analysing the data – or have misunderstood it.”

The peak in failures in March and April is mainly due to wet weather affecting signals between East Putney and Wimbledon on the District line. In April Metronet finished fixing drainage and wiring insulation problems that has dogged this section for 15 years. Signal failures fell by one-third as a result they claim.

Although the District line carries the highest number of passengers it is widely seen as the 'Cinderella' service as it has a relatively long wait for significant investment to improve capacity and performance compared to other lines. Hammersmith & Fulham MP, Greg Hands said, "Local commuters have suffered for long enough on the dilapidated District Line, paying ever increasing fares for an ever decreasing standard of service."

Passengers at Turnham Green station consistently complain that when the District Line service is not functioning properly, the Piccadilly line does not provide an alternative at these stations. According to staff at Turnham Green, passengers must first ask the station manager to make a request to the Piccadilly line operator.

Transport to London do not respond to our requests for comment.

June 17, 2005