Cuts could make ailing trains & poor service the norm
More problems this morning on the beleaguered District Line and as this photo shows it's having a real impact on capacity, leading to overcrowding and delays for commuters.
The photo was taken on Thursday at Earl's Court - the sender had serious concerns about safety. "No-one cough for God's sake" - was his comment.
And this morning we hear that another 10 trains are not in service due to maintenance repairs. That means routine stuff like repairs to doors and batteries.
However it does make you wonder why it has taken until now to find all these problems?
Why were they not picked up one at a time during checks instead of ALL showing up at the same time?
It seems a fleet wide check of the trains has thrown up issues that needed dealing with pronto.
"Our depot staff have been working flat out over the weekend to return all District Line trains to service, having identified a defective bracket through our rigorous maintenance regime last week.
"Whilst there are now no trains out of service due to the bracket issue, ten other trains with routine faults that have developed whilst we have been prioritising the bracket works are also being repaired today and we aim to return these to service over the next couple of days.
"We apologise to passengers for the disruption this has caused, but passenger safety is our top priority."
What's also pertinent is that London Underground used the bracket failures to call for more investment in the Tube. They're clearly trying to get the message across to the Department for Transport ahead of the Spending Review.
It's the first time I can remember that LU are linking infrastructure failure with a lack of investment.
A few weeks ago I was told that if the TfL upgrade budget is cut by 30%-40% then failure rates will rise rapidly as the upgrades won't happen.
Old equipment at the end of its life will start to fail in large numbers rather than in ones and twos.
So this kind of scenario we're seeing on the District Line might be an omen.