Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009

Tube check cuts 'risking safety'

Tube train
Bosses say the move will have "no impact" on safety

Plans to cut track inspections on a stretch of the Tube will risk public safety, a rail union has said.

Track checks on the Jubilee Line extension are to be reduced from twice a week to once, officials confirmed.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, blamed a "black hole" in Transport for London's finances for the cuts.

But TfL said safety was its top priority, adding that "essential savings" would not affect this.

Mr Crow said: "We have warned all along that the multi-billion pound black hole facing TfL would result in real service cuts and would impact on safety and reliability.

"We now have concrete evidence that our fears were well founded. The shift of policy from twice weekly to weekly track safety inspections is one that RMT will fight."

'Reliable and safe'

A TfL spokesman said safety was improving on the underground and added that assurances had been received that the track inspection changes maintain standards.

He added: "There will be no impact on the safety of transport services as a result of the essential savings and efficiencies we are making across TfL."

In a statement, contractors Tube Lines said the change would enable it to redeploy staff to carry out other track improvement work.

The statement read: "The track formation is modern in its design so is not prone to the common defects you might find on other, older lines with different track configurations.

"It performs reliably and safely - there have been no broken rails on the Jubilee line extension since its opening in 1999 - and our assessment has determined that a change in the frequency of track inspections will not result in any significant increase in risk to either its safety or performance."

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