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Off in the distance
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May 2016

The Bellinghman
Date: 2010-03-01 14:08
Subject: Hell is Underground. And vice versa
Security: Public
Actually, that may be a little unfair. But we travelled down to London for PicoCon last Saturday (happenstantially discovering jemck on the Tube a stop before South Kensington), to find that a remarkable number of lines were closed, either entirely or partially.

A look at the TfL website indicates that they're now carrying out a 10 year program of improvements, trying to update signalling to increase capacity, and refurbishing trains and stations. This is way overdue, of course, but it does mean that there are extensive weekend closures for the work required. Much of the initial stuff will be attempting to make improvements before the 2012 Olympics, so I'm expecting 2 years of weekend disruption until that work package is complete.
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User: pir
Date: 2010-03-01 14:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This is one of the reasons I live by a tube station, an Overground station and a mainline train station. It's rare for all three to get taken out at once.

Apparently you can mostly blame the tories for not giving enough funding for tube maintenance. Then everyone went "Oh, bollox" when they realised just how broken/ancient everything was getting... just when they needed to encourage more public transport usage because traffic was getting utterly insane in London.

For the next two years don't expect much tube or Overground to be running during the weekends... and nearly as bad for some time once the Olympics are done.

The results of the work are quite nice, though, we're finally getting the new Victoria line trains, I've even been on one. This is good in part because the old trains are older than I am (most built in 1967 according to the entrance steps).
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User: jon_a_five
Date: 2010-03-01 14:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm on the Victoria line and even after two years of 10:30PM day time closings it still needs to be down most weekends.

I went on one of the test Victoria line trains last week and while a bit smarter and more spacious isn't really much of a change.
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User: pir
Date: 2010-03-01 15:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This past Saturday (just Saturday, not all weekend) was the only weekend closure I can remember for the last month or so, doesn't seem like "most weekends" any more by any stretch of the imagination. It also wasn't closed early for two complete years, it was six or nine months in one year and then another few months the next year. I lived and worked on the Victoria line through all of that.

The new trains may not seem like much, other than being smarter, but improved cooling in summer, more space for people and once all the old trains are out of service they'll be able to run a more frequent and faster service (the new trains can take advantage of the new signalling system, variable gaps between trains, and can accelerate faster) mean that they should make a significant difference, but not yet.
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James Shields
User: lostcarpark
Date: 2010-03-01 17:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think the fact that the old ones ran for over 40 year, and the new ones don't look that much different, shows just how good the old ones were.
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Run away to DreamWidth. Come with me.
User: reddragdiva
Date: 2010-03-01 17:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
They were pretty robust mechanically. The new ones should be nicer.

But the basic problem is indeed thirty to fifty (Labour don't get away without blame too) years' terrible neglect, and the bill coming due. The Tube in general is held together by gaffer tape and dedicated staff. The state of the kit they use is fucking unbelievably decrepit. This stuff holds together an economically vital transport network that has to do its thing nineteen hours a day without killing thousands of people. Be nice to your Tube staff!
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