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Faulty trains causing Central Line to run below capacity, London Assembly hears

PUBLISHED: 14:45 02 February 2017

Standing room only! Packed Central line tube train [photos: Mike Brooke]

Standing room only! Packed Central line tube train [photos: Mike Brooke]

Archant

Ageing tube trains are causing “inadequate service” for thousands of commuters on the Central Line which is not running at full capacity, the London Assembly has been told.

Crowded train on the Central Crowded train on the Central

Only two days in December had a full fleet of trains, neither being busy commuter weekdays.

The problems were revealed when Assembly Member Caroline Pigeon asked the Mayor of London about its reliability.

“Strike-suffering passengers have already had enough grief,” she said.

“But what’s clear is that even without strikes the Central Line is under performing.

Passengers at Bethnal Green Passengers at Bethnal Green

“The failure of London Underground to provide an adequate service is unacceptable—and an insult to every passenger facing the daily grind of packed platforms and overcrowded trains.”

The Central—with its normally busy stops in the City and West and places in east London like Liverpool Street, Bethnal Green and Mile End—only operated at full capacity on two Saturdays in the last month of 2016, the mayor revealed.

The line, stretching from Epping and Hainault to Ealing Broadway and West Ruislip, needs 78 trains on weekdays, 72 on Saturdays and 68 on Sundays.

There are likely to be severe delays if just one train is broken down on London’s busiest tube line.

Waiting a long time for a train... at Liverpool Street Waiting a long time for a train... at Liverpool Street

Central Line general manager Chris Taggart admitted: “Our trains have problems of reliability because of age.

“But we are working to make repairs as quickly as possible to minimise disruption.”

London Underground was undertaking extensive maintenance, the Assembly has been assured. An investment programme is being carried out “to improve reliability”.

The Central was closed for three months in 2003 when faults were discovered in the electric motors, after one train was derailed at Chancery Lane.

More recently, all-night trains were introduced last summer on Fridays and Saturdays on the Central and Victoria lines, which were packed to capacity on the first night.

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