Piccadilly Line Night Tube hours should be halted due to engineering issues, RMT says
Plans to open the Piccadilly Line at night on Fridays and Saturdays should be halted for the time being while engineering issues with the train stock’s wheels are fixed, according to the rail union RMT.
The line was disrupted again on Monday after trains were taken out of service because of a problem with wheels.
Night Tube services are scheduled to start on the Piccadilly Line on December 16, and members of the RMT union are due to go on strike next week over several issues.
The RMT demanded on Monday that urgent discussions should be held to give serious consideration to the Piccadilly Line being closed until the problem is resolved.
General secretary Mick Cash said: "The entire Piccadilly Line fleet of trains has got a major engineering problem which has finally boiled over. It's nothing new and it is down to pressure on services and sheer managerial incompetence.
"The attempt to shift the blame on to drivers and fleet engineers is disgraceful. Those workers, along with the station staff, have slogged their guts out to keep passengers safe and trains moving.
"Basically the problem is flatted wheels, which mean the train has to come off the road for a chunk of time to have the wheel checked and lathed back to safe tolerances. LU fleet engineers have worked under impossible management pressure to keep services running.
"But now the sheer danger of massive delays and overcrowding means that the service on the Piccadilly line is inherently unsafe and will get worse under Night Tube.
"Our members are asking why it will be another 10 years before these 43-year-old trains are fully replaced when refurbishment clearly isn't working."
But London Underground has stressed that safety is paramount and is pressing ahead with extending the Night Tube after its successful launch earlier this year.
In September London Underground retired a 90-year-old station box to be replaced by newer technology that will allow train frequency to be increased by 33 per cent.