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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Go-ahead to change Tube contracts
Northern Line train
The trains' emergency brakes were at the centre of a safety row
The government said it would not oppose any change of contract arrangements on the Tube's troubled Northern Line.

A safety row led to the entire line being out of action last week while the trains' back-up brakes were modified.

London's Transport Commissioner Bob Kiley has called for subcontractor Alstom, the company that worked on the trains, to be stripped of its contract.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said the government would "not stand in the way" of any contractual changes.

Mr Darling said: "No one can regard the present situation as anything but, unbelievably unsatisfactory. The Northern Line is crucial to London."

We hope that the recent debacle on the Northern Line will prove a turning point
TfL spokesman

A TfL spokesperson said: "We welcome today's statement from the government that recognises TfL's need to have more direct control over the maintenance and renewal of London Underground.

"We and Tube passengers have been frustrated by the slow progress made on improvements to the Northern Line train fleet over the past three year.

"We hope that the recent debacle on the Northern Line will prove a turning point."

Both Transport for London and Tube Lines, the private company with overall responsibility for the Northern Line, have expressed their unhappiness with Alstom's performance.

Problems with an emergency braking system on Northern Line trains led to severe delays and then a complete shutdown for two days last week.

Trains have now been modified and the service has returned to normal, although passengers were affected by a faulty train on Tuesday morning.

Travel delays as Tube line shut
13 Oct 05 |  London


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