Rail Union Says Piccadilly Line Should Be Shut Down
RMT calls for urgent talks with rail bosses as travel chaos continues
The RMT rail union is calling for the Piccadilly line to be temporarily shut down and the Night Tube launch, set for December 16, delayed as chaos continues on the line due to shortage of trains.
The union is demanding urgent discussions with transport bosses and also urged London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the capital’s transport commissioner to call a summit meeting to draw up an action plan for the Piccadilly line - the fourth busiest line on the Underground and a main route through Hammersmith.
Around half the line’s trains - 37 out of a total of 68 - were taken out of service on Friday due to "wet leaves on the track" and the situation has continued over the weekend and into Monday.
Transport for London says that wheels on trains serving the Underground’s fourth busiest line have been damaged as a result of slippery rails.
Tom Matthews, General Manager of the Piccadilly Line said on Friday: " I sincerely apologise to Piccadilly Line customers whose journeys have been disrupted this week.
"We have had to take some Piccadilly Line trains out of service to repair their wheels, which unfortunately means we do not have a full fleet available.
"We’re working around the clock to fix the trains so that we can return to a good service as quickly as possible."
The trains are being repaired at depots at Cockfosters and Northfields, but it is not yet known when they will back in service.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash says: "The entire Piccadilly line fleet of trains has got a major engineering problem which has finally boiled over. It's nothing new and it is down to pressure on services and sheer managerial incompetence.
"Our members are asking why will it be another ten years before these 43-year-old trains are fully replaced when refurbishment clearly isn't working.
“It is also becoming clear that the wheels themselves are at fault and they've only recently been replaced. The contract for that job needs to be forensically examined.
"These issues have now all come together in a cumulative effect and are the reason why sections of the line were closed on Friday. RMT has been told the problem could take weeks to fix properly.
"That's why consideration has to be given to the service being suspended until the trains are repaired and signed off as safe.
"We will have health and safety reps out and about from this morning advising our member and we expect an urgent response from the Mayor and his officials which we have set out today."
Travellers also face major delays next weekend as union members strike on the Piccadilly and Hammersmith & City lines.
We will bring you more news as we receive it and you can also keep up to date on the Piccadilly Line's Twitter feed.
1 December 2016