Tube engineers join the emergency services

By Rob Virtue on February 9, 2012 11:50 AM |

tfl emergency .jpg

Breakdowns on the Tube could be attended to in half the time if a trial which involves putting engineers on emergency response vehicles proves to be a success.

The joint initiative between British Transport Police, London Underground and Transport for London was launched at Canary Wharf on Thursday morning.

Aiming to reduce response times for breakdowns and emergency scenarios the scheme allows the modified vehicles, driven by a BTP officer and carrying a Tube engineer, to use flashing blue lights to get through busy traffic.

London Underground managing director Mike Brown said: "The busiest times for the Tube are also the busiest times for the road so it's important we had something to get through the traffic.

"The Tube network has got busier and this will enable us to be more reliable."

BTP Asst Chief Cons Alan Pacey said it was a much needed initiative which will benefit both teams.

"We looked at all the incidents both we and Tubelines got called to and very often we would need both parties there to resolve the situation quickly," he said.

BTP has seven drivers available for the 24 hour service. The emergency vehicles will be based at Camden.

TfL is funding the Emergency Response Unit through its subsidiary Tube Lines.

Its director Jon Lamonte said: "It's all about halving response times on incidents, for example, where there is an obstruction on the track or a person under a train. And these vehicles can not just serve the Tube, but the Overground, train services, DLR and tram."

The service will originally run as a year-long trial with a review taking place in three months to see if any improvements need to be made before the Olympics begin.