Newslinks |18th July 2007

The NewsEditor

Metronet In Administration Metronet calls in administrators

"Metronet, the firm which maintains the bulk of the London Underground network, has called in the administrators amid serious financial problems.

"Responsible for the upkeep of nine Tube lines, including the Bakerloo, Victoria and Central, Metronet was hired under a private-public financing initiative.

"Following a cost over-run, Metronet said it was no longer able to meet its obligations without additional money.

"London Mayor Ken Livingstone said the crisis "would not undermine services"." [BBC News Online]

London Plans to Run Metronet Temporarily, Mayor Says

"London transportation officials plan to temporarily take over the running of Metronet Rail, the London Underground's largest contractor, and fire top executives because of the company's cash shortage, said Mayor Ken Livingstone.

"`We have spent months preparing for this,'' the mayor said at a news conference today. ``There will be an awful lot of people at the top who will go.''

"Metronet Rail, which signed a 30-year contract in 2003 to upgrade two-thirds of the railroad, has run up extra costs on the project and its banks froze access to loans. An arbiter yesterday awarded the company less than a quarter of the emergency funding it had sought.

"Metronet's difficulties have threatened the biggest investment since World War II in the 144-year-old railroad. The London Underground carried a record 1 billion passengers last year. Livingstone said Transport for London, which operates the railway, aims to run Metronet's projects more effectively." [Bloomberg]

Transport Briefing also carries an excellent timeline of Metronet's involvement with the Tube.

In other news...

Transport for London given ability to propose changes to inner suburban rail services

"Guidance published today [by the Department for Transport] will allow TfL to better integrate London's inner suburban rail network with the rest of the capital's transport system.

"The guidance explains the role of TfL in the rail franchise process and, following a consultation last year, allows TfL to propose and pay for extra train services and station improvements on certain 'inner suburban' routes that extend just beyond the Greater London Authority boundary.

"When proposing service or station changes TfL will have to consult local transport authorities in the affected areas beyond the boundary, as well as Regional Assemblies and London TravelWatch. Were TfL to seek any reductions to service levels, the governance arrangements are stronger. TfL would require the agreement of affected local transport authorities." [from PR Newswire]

Six mayoral candidates make the first cut

The six candidates are:

Andrew Boff Victoria Borwick Lurline Champagnie Boris Johnson Warwick Lightfoot A sixth individual who was described as an Alderman from the City of London. All other candidates have been eliminated.

[from ConservativeHome]