Latest Rail News

28.06.12

Benchmarking report urges more Tube investment

London Underground is among the more reliable of metros in its international peer group of other European and North American systems, a new benchmarking report suggests.

TfL has published its first ‘Rail and Underground Annual Benchmarking Report’ under the direction of the Independent Investment Programme Advisory Group (IIPAG), which provides oversight of TfL’s investment programme.

It notes that despite being the world’s oldest metro, the Tube network continues to carry as many passengers as the entire national rail network, and the reliability was at a record level in 2011/12. Lost customer hours have dropped by 42% since 2007/8. 

But TfL says: “With a system the age ofLondon’s network, and with the legacy of the failed Public Private Partnership system, a number of challenges remain including continuing to reduce maintenance costs and improve reliability. LU is dealing with, and replacing, some very old technology, which is costly. A number of contracts inherited under the PPP were not competitive, and LU has renegotiated several of these already and continues to seek the best value for fares payers.

“IIPAG observes that if costs and reliability on the Tube are to be world-leading, investment will need to be maintained and increased. LU is already committed to continuing to make the case for further investment and to continue the improvements seen already, such as the upgrade to the Victoria line, where new trains, track and signalling have increased capacity by a fifth and reduced journey times for passengers. Measures already underway will see maintenance costs reduced significantly over the next six years.”

David James, chair of IIPAG, said: “This is the first year that IIPAG has directed TfL’s benchmarking and I am pleased to see that there are many good, positive trends for both reliability and unit costs with further significant improvements forecast.  While there are many further challenges to be overcome in delivering a world class Underground, great strides have been made in upgrading and improving the maintenance of the Tube.”

Mike Brown, LU’s Managing Director, said: “Benchmarking is helping us to identify best practice and the innovation needed to drive performance up and costs down. This report shows the good positive trends for improvement in both reliability and maintenance costs across the Tube network, and highlights the need for continued and increased investment to renew a network that has been badly under-invested in for decades.

Despite the challenges that we still face in delivering a massive rebuilding programme while carrying more passengers on a more reliable railway, we are on course for delivering the improvements that our passengers deserve even while keeping outdated signalling and trains going until they too can be replaced.”

The report is available on the TfL website: www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/publications/1482.aspx

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

(Image copyright TfL)

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