Tube performance on track for a successful Games

31 January 2012

Major projects under way to further improve reliability - including work on signalling, control systems, train doors, wheels and other components.

The latest performance figures published today by London Underground (LU) show that, while demand continues to rise to record levels, reliability on the network is improving - meaning that plans to boost performance for the 2012 Games and beyond are well on track.

The figures for period 9, covering 13 November to 10 December, confirm that the four-week period was the third in succession that passenger demand hit new levels, with 95.8 million passenger journeys - up by 1.2 million from the record established in the previous period.

Delays - as measured by the number of passenger hours lost to disruption - were reduced by 8,900 from the previous period, and have been reduced across every line compared to the same period last year.

Annual trends, which show a more robust picture of performance by balancing out short-term fluctuations, also show an improving trend. 

Across the network lost passenger hours have been reduced by almost 40 per cent since 2007/08.

Boosting reliability

However, more work is under way - aiming to further boost reliability and provide a lasting legacy for Londoners.

Mike Brown, Managing Director London Underground, said: 'This is a crucial year for London, and every one of my staff is focused on supporting a fantastic 2012 Games and keeping all Londoners moving.

'We have completed the huge infrastructure improvements needed to support the events and to give London a world-class transport network for years to come, and we are working around the clock to further improve reliability on the network.

'The latest figures show that reliability continues to improve, and we are confident that by the time of the Games further significant improvements will have been made - providing a lasting legacy for London.

'We are leaving no stone unturned - introducing new technology and working practices and replacing train doors, wheel sets and other components to ensure we offer the very best possible performance day in and day out.'

A lasting legacy

Over the last six months a huge range of work has been carried out on the Jubilee line - which is key to a successful Games.

More trains are running, more frequently and more reliably, train maintenance has been brought under direct Transport for London (TfL) control and extensive software improvements have been made following the installation of automatic train operation software. 

During the summer the Victoria line will also play a key role in transporting visitors to London from the key national and international hubs at Euston and King's Cross St. Pancras, and will support journeys to Games venues and live sites.

Significant progress has been made to tackle issues with the door systems.

This work will continue to reduce disruption caused by items becoming trapped.

Other improvements include:

  • Software upgrades to boost the performance of signalling systems
  • Reducing inadvertent operation of passenger emergency alarms by installing specially hinged covers
  • The deployment of additional technical support staff to trouble-shoot reliability problems around the clock and new technology installed in tunnels to provide more accurate data about train performance, helping LU to better predict and prevent failures

The Tube reliability programme includes a range of other initiatives including  learning from the operators of other metro systems, as well as a range of blue-chip companies outside of the rail industry, to understand how they deliver increasingly reliable performance, both in terms of day-to-day operations and investing for the long term.

A range of new techniques are being implemented to predict when maintenance should be performed to prevent unexpected equipment failure. 

This includes advanced signal monitoring technology that helps indicate potential failure, and automated track monitoring systems which automatically identify any track related defects and allow maintenance activities to be planned to minimise disruption to passengers. 

Speeding up recovery time

LU is also increasing its incident response capabilities, and developing plans to co-locate engineering and operations staff in a consolidated command and control centre to help speed up the time it takes to recover from incidents.

It is also working closely with the British Transport Police (BTP) in order to establish a system where the BTP will be helping to get TfL's Emergency Response Unit swiftly to where incidents are taking place under blue light status.

Passenger information around service alterations is being improved, and staff training given an increased focus on keeping passengers informed.

New radios are in place for better communication between staff, and upgraded electronic status update boards are being rolled out across the network giving more detail on services. 

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