Council tells Tube and rail chiefs to speak more
Tube and rail chiefs have been told by Wandsworth’s cabinet member for transport that they must work more closely together in co-ordinating engineering works if they want to retain the confidence of the travelling public.
Cllr Russell King has written to the managing director of London Underground and his counterpart at Network Rail, and urged them to both do more to make sure their organisations improve their co-ordination to avoid causing unnecessary disruption to passengers.
Cllr King's letters to both companies come ahead of a second weekend of widespread disruption to local tube and rail services.
On Sunday there is no District Line trains running between Wimbledon and Earls Court. At the same time works will also be carried out by Network Rail to extend platforms at Barnes Station. This means there will be no South West Trains services between Queenstown Road to Kew Bridge and Twickenham.
In addition, passengers also face the loss of services from Clapham Junction to Watford and Willesden Junction on the popular West London Line on Sunday as a result of separate engineering works by Network Rail. This will mean no direct trains between Clapham Junction and Imperial Wharf, West Brompton, Kensington Olympia, Shepherds Bush, Willesden Junction, Harrow or Watford.
The loss of this important service - as well as the District Line - means that football fans heading to both Loftus Road for the QPR v Chelsea fixture and to Craven Cottage for the Fulham v Everton game will now have to find alternative means of travel and many may take to their cars instead, creating unnecessary traffic congestion throughout the area.
Passengers will also be prevented from using the Victoria Line from Vauxhall as all services on this line are suspended on both Saturday and Sunday.
It is the second weekend running that the two companies have failed to properly co-ordinate their engineering works. For the whole of last weekend, no trains ran on the District Line between Wimbledon and Parsons Green while all South West Trains services were again suspended between Queenstown Road and Kew Bridge.
In his letters to London Underground's Mike Brown and Network Rail's Richard O'Brien, Cllr King stresses that while the council welcomes track upgrades and improvements there is increasing concern "with the paralysis to the network which occurs when several pieces of work take place at the same time".
Pointing out that this weekend's widespread disruption is "not the first time this has occurred recently", he goes on to say "we had hoped that common sense would prevail" after previous complaints.
He concludes: "Could I please take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of (your) services in London and the need to liaise with your colleagues to ensure that at least one route through the area is kept open during engineering works so that people's lives are not totally disrupted by your work."
Cllr King also said: "This Sunday is likely to be another day of massive inconvenience for the travelling public. It cannot be right that so many train and tube services will be out of action at the same time for a second weekend running.
"Passengers are frankly fed up with the failure of the rail and tube companies to speak to each other so that these kinds of unnecessary situations can be avoided."
People who want to register their views with Network Rail can call their 24 hour customer helpine on 0845 711 4141. Email comments can be submitted using the online form at www.networkrail.co.uk/contactus. To register views on the District Line closures visit www.tfl.gov.uk/.
October 22, 2011