London Underground PPP contractor Tube Lines, which is responsible for the upgrade of the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, yesterday announced it had completed upgrades to 83 stations, bringing it close to the target of 96 station upgrades by June 2010.
The company says the end of last year saw upgrades completed at five stations – Balham, Bermondsey, Hyde Park Corner, North Greenwich, and Wood Green – with a further nine currently being worked on.
Keith Sibley, Tube Lines Delivery Manager for Stations, said the company’s progress had been down to a culture of working smarter and more efficiently.
Sibley commented: “No single station is the same and each presents its own challenges. Some, for example, can be heritage sites in densely populated residential areas, while others are underground and located in busy commercial zones.”
“But thanks to the hard work and commitment of our employees and business partners, we’ve become remarkably adept at developing new ways of working, building on lessons learned, and making good use of all available access time. This continuous improvement in how we carry out our work has enabled us to upgrade stations faster and cheaper, thereby minimising disruption and cost to Londoners.”
In recent weeks the company has found itself clashing with London Underground over the costs of upgrading the lines.
A statement issued in response to PPP Arbiter Chris Bolt’s draft determination that works should cost no more than £4.4bn sparked speculation about the firm’s future involvement after Dean Finch, Tube Lines chief executive, said the figure “is not conducive to private sector involvement in the Underground”. Company sources have since sought to play down the significance of the comment.
In a statement issued on Tuesday Tube Lines says “significant improvements” to procurement and supply strategies has allowed it to deliver each station upgrade “on or ahead of time” and claims “the unit cost per square metre is now 50% less than that of the first ten stations upgraded by Tube Lines.”
Sibley says the figures “mean that Londoners can be confident that they’re getting value for money in their station upgrades.”