Cuts to the Northern Line tube upgrade programme became clearer this week as Transport for London admitted some station works would be scrapped.
Speaking at a New London Architecture event on Tuesday, TfL commissioner Peter Hendy said work on the line was only 10 per cent complete rather than the 75 per cent planned for July 2010. A TfL spokesman confirmed that upgrades would only go ahead on major stations.
Obligations for the Northern Line to be completed in time for the Olympic Games were scrapped last month as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
“Initially, every station that needed work doing was supposed to be refurbished,” said the spokesman. “The Northern Line plans are going to have to be re-phased - work clearly isn’t going to be done to the scope it was originally. Now only the major stations, such as Tottenham Court Road, will get the upgrades.”
The news was met with disappointment by contractors. One said: “We suspected the focus would be on the major stations but held some hope that other works would still go ahead.”
Half of the UK’s civil engineering contractors saw lower workloads in October 2010 than in the same month last year, according to a survey by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association. Just 18 per cent saw higher workloads.
Firms employing between 115 and 299 employees were hit hardest by the downturn, with 63 per cent reported falling workloads and just 4 per cent reporting increases.
Mr Hendy urged the government to continue investing in London’s transport system, and said the Bakerloo Line upgrade would be the next scheme to go ahead.
“The city is growing - it is the engine of the UK economy,” he said. “If we don’t continue to invest, not only will we stunt the growth of the city but we will stunt the growth of the entire country.”
He said it would be 2018 before all tube upgrade work was complete.
He added: “What I’ve suggested is a sensible re-phasing of the works. Clearly, the money isn’t there any more. But sooner or later the Bakerloo line has to be done up, so there will be work to go out with that.”
Chancellor George Osborne committed £6 billion to the tube network at the CSR, guaranteeing line upgrades as well as station upgrades at Victoria, Green Park, Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road.
Other station projects, including Vauxhall and Finsbury Park, were scrapped, while the completion date for the Northern Line upgrade was put back from 2012 to 2014.