Posted 18th August 2016 | No Comments

RMT promises 'extreme vigilance' as Night Tube starts

THE delayed Night Tube service on London Underground starts this weekend, with trains running all night on two deep tube lines -- the Victoria and Central.

The project is running almost a year late, mainly because it encountered determined opposition from rail unions in a dispute based on the terms and conditions for train and station staff who will now work through the night on Fridays and Saturdays.

All-night services are not unknown on London Underground, but in the past they were provided only for a short time during special events, ranging from the Coronation in 1953 to the Olympics in 2012.

In the past, regular services in the small hours were said to be impossible because of the need to maintain the infrastructure, but recent upgrades and improved methods of working have allowed key sections to stay in continuous use for two days out of seven.

The all-night services are due to spread to the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines this autumn, and Transport for London has plans to introduce 24-hour running on the subsurface Underground network later on, as well as the Docklands Light Railway and parts of London Overground.

New all-night bus services are being introduced on eight routes in the suburbs to provide local links from Night Tube stations, while British Transport Police is stepping up its coverage of the network with more than 100 officers on duty through the night when the full service is running on five lines later this year. More police community support officers will also be on duty.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "The Night Tube is going to transform our city as for the first time tube passengers will be able to travel swiftly across the capital throughout the night.

"The safety and security of Londoners is vital, and it's why we've invested in new police officers on the Tube and it's why we're bringing in these brand new 24-hour bus services."

Although the unions have now come to terms with London Underground, the RMT is warning that it will be keeping a close eye on the operation.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The truth is that it is not politicians and their top officials who will deliver a Night Tube for London, it is the cleaners, station staff, drivers, engineers and all the other grades working anti-social hours who will be transforming London into a 24 hour city and they deserve all the praise and the credit.
“RMT will be maintaining a policy of ‘extreme vigilance’ with our reps monitoring issues like safety, security and the impact on staff of running services round the clock. The union will also continue to resist any attempts to deliver Night Tube on the cheap. Huge logistical challenges in areas like safety, maintenance and engineering will remain under close scrutiny.
“RMT is also conscious of a range of problems with the rolling out of the second tranche of Night Tube services and it is essential that those issues are dealt with through the negotiating machinery and that procedures aren’t dodged in order to hit arbitrary deadlines.
“Night Tube is a massive step for London at a time of surging demand for transport services. It must not be compromised."