‘Half Tube network closed’ claim by Labour is refuted

14:34 04 November 2011

A row has broken out over the disruption Tube closures will cause to Londoners in the run-up to and after Christmas.

Throughout November there will be a minimum of six London Underground lines affected by closures at weekends.

Between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve, only three Tube lines will be unaffected by closures, throwing plans for the festive season into “disarray” for thousands of Londoners, said Labour.

The party’s transport spokesman and deputy mayoral running mate, Val Shawcross, said: “No corner of London has managed to escape disruption over the coming weeks, with residents from High Barnet to Epping and Hammersmith to Brixton affected by planned closures which will cause misery for thousands of commuters.

“Many hardworking Londoners are facing a major headache this Christmas, with the closures making plans from visiting loved ones to hitting the sales seemingly impossible for many.

“The last thing retailers need when they are struggling is half of the Tube network closed at one of the busiest times of year.

“It’s essential to the economy that London keeps moving, both in the run-up to and during the festive period.

“With scheduled works such as those to the Jubilee line now well over target and weekend engineering works frequently over-running, the Mayor must urgently get a grip on these plans - ensuring that every single hour closed for works is being used to maximum effect.”

A Transport for London spokesman said: “It is simply untrue to suggest that half the Tube network will be closed in the run-up to Christmas.

“The facts are that essential improvements to the Tube are needed to keep it running well, to improve reliability and to increase capacity in order to carry record passenger numbers.

“This includes the replacement of signalling dating back to the 1920s and stretches of track which are well over 40 years old and introducing new trains to replace some of the oldest running in Europe.

“We are working flat-out every night in the few hours the system is closed to keep passenger inconvenience to an absolute minimum. But some weekend closures, mostly of small sections of track, are regrettably unavoidable.”

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