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Why are we seeing more and more Tube problems?

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Tom Edwards Tom Edwards | 11:36 UK time, Monday, 8 November 2010

More problems for commuters on the Victoria Line this morning.

This is a photo of the knock-on effect at the Northern Ticket Hall at King's Cross as commuters were held there for 15 minutes due to crowded platforms.

A TfL spokesperson said:

"A cracked rail was discovered on the Victoria Line 200m north of Highbury and Islington station during overnight routine checks.

This has required a 20mph temporary speed restriction to be put in place since the start of service and this is causing minor delays on the line.

The rail will be replaced during overnight engineering works this evening."

No doubt Transport for London will deny this is anything to do with the ongoing industrial dispute and the work to rule that is currently in place.

Insiders say the rail was found towards the end of the shift and to avoid closing the line the decision was made to replace it tonight.

If this and the other problems we've seen on the Tube isn't due to the work to rule - i.e. all these problems would have happened anyway - then what is causing these continuing issues?

Later in the day there was a signal failure at Wimbledon, leading the District Line to be part suspended and delays on the Jubilee again due to a signalling failure.

Is it just bad luck?

Is there mismanagement of the upgrades or are LU struggling to oversee Tube line contracts?

Or, as we were warned before the Comprehensive Spending Review, are all components reaching the end of their shelf lives at roughly the same time?

Is it a combination of all of the above?

Maybe it is just that the London media have started to notice that there are a lots of problems on the Tube every day...

UPDATE: 1.15pm

Union sources have told me that the incident on the Victoria line is definitely tied in with the work to rule. They say:

"Works like this would normally be done on an overtime docket, so the action short of a strike is slowing down response times and it shows how much TfL rely on the goodwill of the workforce."


Yes, I know the unions would say that. I'm awaiting a response from LU.

Follow me on Twitter: @TomSEdwards

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