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Politicians unite over transport chaos

PUBLISHED: 16:32 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:47 07 September 2010

THE ongoing chaos caused by Jubilee line weekend closures has become a cause celebre among Hampstead and Kilburn politicians. Conservative parliamentary candidate Chris Philp organised a meeting on Monday giving residents the chance to quiz

Susanna Wilkey

THE ongoing chaos caused by Jubilee line weekend closures has become a cause celebre among Hampstead and Kilburn politicians.

Conservative parliamentary candidate Chris Philp organised a meeting on Monday giving residents the chance to quiz a panel of transport representatives, including London Underground and Tube Lines.

The closures are blighting residents and traders' lives - especially when several lines close at once, leaving people and shopping areas isolated.

Lib Dem candidate Ed Fordham has been campaigning about the issue for months.

He has now been given a place on the London Overground (LOROL) passenger board and is vowing to speak up for north Londoners over the proposed Overground closure.

Labour MP Glenda Jackson has also written to transport minister Lord Andrew Adonis about the Jubilee line problems.

Mr Philp said: "The closures are having a big impact on our quality of life and ability to get around at the weekends especially.

"The co-ordination of closures is a very important issue.

"I will try to find out more about these issues as well as the possibility of getting a replacement bus link to the Northern line and overnight closures.

"It is also important to make sure that the lessons of this are learned when the Northern line upgrade starts in March."

The panel at the meeting in West Hampstead also included Network Rail representatives.

Richard Hall represented Tube Lines, which is being fined £5million for each four weeks it overruns.

Mr Hall said that he aimed to finish the upgrade by May - not October as the organisation reported last week - and said he felt residents' pain being a Jubilee line user himself.

But the panel was heckled by residents angry at the huge delays blighting the upgrade and the decision to sometimes close the Jubilee, Bakerloo, Metropolitan and Overground all at once.

They are also furious at poor replacement bus services, which are very slow, and the lack of leaflets to let people know what is going on.

Mr Fordham said: "For nearly three years, north-west London has been closed for business at weekends. We are still paying a seven-day charge for a five-day service."

Ms Jackson added: "There are serious questions over the length of time the upgrade is taking and the kind of effect it has on people who regularly depend on that line.

"If it is going to carry on like this, the additional pressure that can be brought to bear upon the people responsible may help speed things up a bit.

"The bottom line for all this is that the safety of people is of overriding importance and we do not want to see through more pressure a tendency to scrimp anywhere.

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