TfL commissioner on why Tube's Central line has delays every day

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Since TfL apologised for ongoing Central line disruption, the issues have continued with the delays "severe" almost every day.

Transport for London's (TfL) commissioner says the Central line service should improve "in the coming weeks" as daily delays continue due to a "shortage of trains".

Three weeks ago LondonWorld reported that TfL had apologised for the disruption caused by "an abnormally high number of defective traction motors" requiring work during a major overhaul of the trains on the line.

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Since then the line has seen delays on every weekday - "severe" on almost every occasion.

In his report for the TfL board, dated February 2024, commissioner Andy Lord repeats the apology to customers for the disruption.

"We are experiencing an abnormally high number of motor failures that has required us to take a high number of trains out of service. Our engineers are urgently working to repair and overhaul the damaged motors, but this is a complex process undertaken by highly skilled, specialist technicians and the removal and refitting of every motor requires the 30-year-old train to be split into separate sections and the affected cars lifted," he writes.

"Alongside the repair work, we have put in place additional arrangements to increase our supply of spare motors; this will enable us to start to rebuild some resilience and improve services over the coming weeks, reducing the number of trains out of service and meaning we can return trains to service more quickly.

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"While this should help improve services for customers, the motor failures are still occurring at a higher rate than we have seen before so some disruption to normal service levels is likely to continue. We are continuing to work urgently to identify further solutions."

The service's engines are being overhauled as part of the £500m Central Line Improvement Programme. The project will include the installation of wheelchair bays to improve accessibility, screens in carriages to enhance customer information during travel and new seating including a new pattern.

TfL advises customers to plan ahead for their journeys using real-time travel tools such as Journey Planner and TfL Go.

City Hall Conservatives transport spokesman Keith Prince said: “Sadiq Khan is chairman of TfL. Responsibility for the daily chaos on the Central Line sits squarely with him.

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“Sadiq Khan prefers to spend money on election gimmicks rather than invest in London’s Tube network. In recent weeks, Sadiq Khan has found £177m for desperate pre-election giveaways - £30m to stave off Tube strikes, £123m to freeze some TfL fares for one year and £24m to fund a temporary three-day weekend on the Tube by pausing peak fares on Fridays.

“This money could be spent speeding up the refurbishment of Central line trains. Nobody believes Sadiq Khan anymore when he says there’s no money. Sadiq Khan finds money for pet projects that further his own interests.”

Nick Dent, TfL’s director of customer operations, said previously: “I apologise to Central line customers for the delays they have experienced in recent weeks. We have experienced an abnormally high number of defective traction motors that has required us to take several trains out of service and implement an amended timetable.

"Our engineers are working extremely hard to get as many trains into service for customers as possible and in the meantime we are advising Central line customers to allow more time for their journeys."

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