Troubled tube maintenance company Metronet has suggested it may have been responsible for yesterday’s derailment on the London Underground which saw a Central Line train came off the rails in a tunnel on the west-bound track between Mile End and Bethnal Green.
In a statement issued yesterday the company said:
“Whilst it is important not to pre-judge the outcome of the investigation, our initial reports suggest that a bale of material became dislodged from its licensed storage position in a tunnel cross-passage.
As a precaution Metronet has ordered an immediate audit of all similar storage sites used by its staff and contractors – and this will be completed before the start of service tomorrow morning.
To enable this work to proceed, Metronet has additionally ordered that all works be suspended tonight, with the exception of essential maintenance.
We apologise to passengers for the distress that this morning’s incident has caused – and for the inconvenience to the many people that use the Central line daily.
Working closely with London Underground, Metronet already has teams on site to start the work of restoring this section of the line to service as quickly as possible.”
Britain’s second largest rail union, the TSSA, has called for a safety inquiry following the derailment. A spokesman for the union called for “a detailed inquiry in what has happened”.
“We have consistently warned that safety may be compromised by the PPP programme and we need to look again at this question in the light of what has happened.
“Everybody keeps talking about Metronet’s financial performance. Perhaps we should be looking more closely at its safety record. We need to reassure the public that we are running a safe and reliable system.”
In recent weeks the company has seen shareholders write off more than 220 million pounds as banks refuse to lend the company any more cash. Last week it asked the PPP Arbiter to conduct an Extraordinary Review of its operations in an effort to recover almost £1billion it says is due from London Underground.
Transport for London has advised of likely to be congestion at several major stations in the surrounding area this morning and has asked passengers to expect a longer journey time than normal until Central Line services can be fully restored.