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Wednesday, 19 September, 2001, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
LU progresses tube refurb plans
Tube train
Controversial plans for reforming London's tube network have taken a step nearer fruition with the naming of the preferred bidder to restore and rebuild five lines.

London Underground (LU) has chosen the Metronet consortium, which includes support services group WS Atkins, DaimlerChrysler's Bombardier unit and the Balfour Beatty construction group.

Thames Water and electricity firm Seeboard are also part of the consortium.

But Bob Kiley, Commissioner of Transport for London, Bob Kiley, has condemned the move, saying the decision was rushed, premature and would waste taxpayers' money.

'Delighted'

Wednesday's decision, governing work on Circle, District, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and East London lines, leaves Metronet poised to take control of renovation of the majority of the tube network.


The announcement was rushed and is premature

Bob Kiley
Commissioner of Transport for London

The consortium had already been chosen as the preferred bidder for the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines contract.

"We are confident the selected preferred bidders will provide much needed cash and management expertise to deliver a Tube network which London demands and deserves," said LU chairman Derek Smith.

The chairmen of both WS Atkins and Balfour Beatty said they were delighted to be part of the consortium named as the preferred bidder.

The British government has set aside 13bn ($19bn; 20.6bn euros) for maintenance and renovation of mainly private sector assets over 15 years under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

Under the terms of the PPP deal, the winning bidder will be required to maintain and improve the tube-line infrastructure.

Kiley criticism

But the news was criticised by Transport for London, who said both the preferred and losing bids to restore the tube would waste taxpayers' money.

"The announcement... was taken without meaningful consultation with Transport for London," said Mr Kiley.

"Proceeding with this public private partnership on such a basis will result in an extremely wasteful and inefficient use of the public's money."

Metronet must now engage in final negotiations with London Underground, with the contract expected to be completed in late 2001.

A spokeswoman from London Underground said the remaining contracts could also be signed around this time, with work to begin shortly afterwards.

See also:

16 Dec 00 | UK Politics
New blow to Tube sell-off plan
13 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Prescott's Tube plan 'fatally flawed'
18 Aug 00 | UK Politics
Tube sell-off safety threat
04 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Byers puts safety first for Tube
04 Sep 01 | ppp
Tube row set to carry on
30 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Tube policy with few friends
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