Upgrading the London Underground

Our Transport Committee keeps a close eye on what progress is being made on upgrading the London Underground to improve the service for Londoners.

The maintenance and renewal of the Underground network requires a vast, hugely expensive and disruptive programme of work that affects large numbers of Londoners every day.   Transport for London (TfL), which is Chaired by London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, has control of all of the contracts for upgrading the Tube. 

Recent work

At a public meeting on Tuesday 17 January, Transport Committee Members questioned representatives from TfL about proposed extensions to Tube lines, along with progress on enhancing station capacity at major interchanges like Victoria, Bank and Tottenham Court Road.  After the hearing we wrote requesting more information on several issues, which TfL responded to on 3 February 2012.   Further information was received from TfL on 9 March 2012.  Watch the webcast of the meeting.

The Transport Committee published a detailed report on the day-to-day performance of the London Underground and progress on the Tube upgrades on 13 September 2011.  Read The State of the Underground.

On 20 April 2011, the Chair of the Transport Committee wrote to the Mayor seeking a detailed explanation for recent disruption on the Jubilee line and delays to the upgrade works.

At a public hearing on 2 February the Committee questioned senior representatives from London Underground and the independent Investment Programme Advisory Group (IPAG) about how the Tube upgrade programme is progressing, the role of IPAG, and the latest plans for line closures. Following the meeting, the Chair of the Committee wrote a letter to the Managing Director of London Underground requesting details of the proposed closures programme for all line upgrades beyond June 2011. 

On 22 October 2010, The Transport Committee wrote to the Mayor of London about recent incidents of disruption on the Tube network.

On 14 September 2010, the Transport Committee and Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee wrote to the Chancellor to underline the economic benefit of investment in the capital’s transport network.

On 9 September, the Transport Committee questioned TfL representatives about an incident involving a 'runaway' engineering train.  View the webcast.

In July, the Transport Committee wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport to urge the Government to protect vital investment in the transport network.

In February 2010, the Committee questioned senior representatives of London Underground and Tube Lines Ltd. Following the meeting, in response to requests from the Committee, London Underground and Tube Lines published planned Northern Line closures, details of contractual claims the amounts paid in dividends and secondment fees to shareholders.

Letter from Transport for London on contractual claims submitted by Tube Lines

Tube Lines' response on dividends and secondments

Letter from Transport for London regarding Tube Lines' response

Read the transcript of the meeting:

Relevant reports

The State of the Underground - September 2011

Too close for comfort: Passengers' experiences of the London Underground - November 2009

Delays possible: Maintaining and upgrading the Underground - March 2009

A Tale of Two Infracos: The Transport Committee's review of the PPP - January 2007

Tube PPP - June 2005


London Underground is now responsible for upgrading all lines on the network, after taking all the contracts in-house in June last year.

London Underground entered into PPP contracts to upgrade the Underground network with Tube Lines in December 2002 and Metronet in April 2003. Metronet, which went into administration in July 2007 and was transferred into Transport for London control in May 2008, was responsible for the renewal of two thirds of the network.

Tube Lines was responsible for maintaining and renewing assets (rolling stock, stations, track, tunnels and signals) on the remaining lines: Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly.

The PPP Arbiter, who had closely examined the maintenance contracts, ruled that work by maintenance contractor Tube Lines between 2010 and 2017 could legitimately cost up to £4.4 billion– £400 million higher than London Underground’s estimate. The Committee issued a statement following his interim ruling.

Following extensive negotiation about the best way to tackle the funding gap and get the upgrade programme back on track, TfL bought out Tube Lines’ contracts in June 2010.

For more information and to request RTF versions of the documents on this page, please contact Laura Warren, email laura.warren@london.gov.uk.