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Tube signal contract on fast track

CONTRACTS LONDON UNDERGROUND

TUBE LINES will select a winner for a £250 million contract to replace signalling across London Underground's Jubilee and Northern lines a month ahead of schedule.

German firm Siemens, French outfits Alstom and Alcatel and CSEE of the Netherlands are all vying for the nine-year deal.

The consortium, which is carrying out a £4.4 billion upgrade of the creaking deep lines network, said it will reach financial close with the successful team by mid-June.

The automatic train control system will be phased in across the two lines.

Work is programmed to finish on the Jubilee Line by 2009 and 2011 on the Northern Line.

The system is expected to improve journey times by around 22 per cent.