diamond geezer

 Thursday, March 16, 2017

Like Monty Python's parrot, the Metropolitan line extension has ceased to be.
Mayor of London: I wish to complain about this project what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
Mayor of Watford: Oh yes, the Metropolitan Purple... What's wrong with it?
Mayor of London: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, it's dead, that's what's wrong with it.
Mayor of Watford: No, no, it's resting.
Mayor of London: Look, I know a dead project when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now. This is an ex-extension.
The problem is money. When Hertfordshire County Council put together their business case in 2008, the expected cost of the extension was £170m. By cutting frills they got the cost down to £115m, and so in 2011 the government gave the project the go-ahead. By 2013 the total had crept up to £118m, but more detailed planning at the end of 2014 suggested the overall cost would be £234m. Herts struggled to deliver, so in March 2015 entered into an agreement with the Department of Transport (contributing £110m) and TfL (contributing £46m) for a grand total of £284m. In August 2015 TfL took over responsibility, making them liable for any additional overspend. But last summer there were questions about how accurate Hertfordshire's estimates had been, and in December the project disappeared from the TfL Business Plan.

You may remember I mentioned this at the time.

This week we discover, in a letter to the Conservatives on the London Assembly, that the cost of the project is now projected to be £50m more.
"The £284m project is set to connect the Metropolitan Line from Croxley to several new stations across Watford. The project received £49m from the previous Mayor of London, but recent cost projections by TfL show that £50m more will be required before it can progress."
TfL doesn't have £50m floating around, so has thrown the extension into its 'Growth fund' where such stalled projects reside (see also the Bow Interchange upgrade). TfL are blaming the price hike on more careful scrutiny of a project they didn't have control over from the beginning, and there's a strong hint that the previous Mayor may have been willing to take the risk of a financial hit but the current Mayor is not. An ongoing fares freeze makes financial manoeuvring almost impossible, and there seems to be particular resentment that TfL is being asked to fund a project "located outside of London".
Mayor of London: This project is definitely deceased. When I purchased it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it being tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.
Mayor of Watford: Well, it's probably pining for the suburbs.
Mayor of London: Pining for the suburbs?!?! What kind of talk is that? Look, why did it fall flat on its back the moment I got it home?
Mayor of Watford: The Metropolitan Purple prefers kipping on its back! Remarkable project, innit squire? Lovely plumage!
Remember when Boris threw out a lot of Ken's ongoing projects when he became Mayor? This is much the same kind of thing by Sadiq, only rather more silently executed, and with the complication of cross-boundary investment. A standoff has therefore developed between TfL and the government, with the Transport Minister insistent the extension must go ahead and TfL saying it won't without more cash. We have yet to see who'll win that battle.
A DfT spokesman said: “Croxley Rail Link will deliver significant transport benefits and significantly boost economic growth in Watford and the wider north-west London area. We wrote to the Mayor in January saying that we expect TfL to take forward the scheme in line with the agreements put in place in 2015. This remains our position.”

London Underground's director of strategy David Hughes said: “This does not mean the project has been cancelled and we remain open to helping assist the DfT in finding an alternative funding package for the project, or alternative schemes that may be more affordable.”
I'm quite nervous about that mention of 'alternative schemes' because this project has already been stripped down to its bare bones. The two new stations will be little more than halts, the main expense is in a viaduct which can't be cut, and the additional train needed to run extended services has already been purchased. Potentially one or more of the new stations could be cut, but that would lose most of the local benefits, or some wag could suggest a 'special bus service' instead, which was the ploy when the Croxley Green branch line was originally mothballed.
Mayor of London: The plumage don't enter into it. The project's stone dead.
Mayor of Watford: No, no, no! It's resting! There, it moved!
Mayor of London: No, it didn't, that was you hitting the cage!
What's awkward for the marginal constituency of Watford is that a huge amount of money is being spent on developing the land alongside the new extension, specifically on the Health Campus site near the hospital. A large area of West Watford has been cleared, new roads and an industrial park have been built, and hundreds of new homes are pencilled in. If none of the promised trains turn up, whose fault is that, and how is any of this sustainable?

Since the Croxley Rail Link was first proposed in 1975, a completion date has always been tantalisingly out of reach. Back in 2011 it was assumed trains would be running between Croxley and Watford Junction in May 2016. By 2013, when approval was granted, December 2016 was being mentioned. At the start of 2014, the target was suddenly December 2017, and by the end of the year the date had slipped further to May 2018. When TfL took over in 2015 the start of operational service had fallen back to May 2019, and by the end of the year merely December 2019. Last July we were told December 2020 instead, which is what the project website says today, except this latest news clearly hasn't filtered through. My money is on 2021, 2022 or 2023, or more likely never.
Mayor of London: This project is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to the perch it'd be pushing up the daisies! It's kicked the bucket, it's shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PROJECT!!
Londoners could just say stuff Watford, we don't live there, what's the point, which is probably how thing's'll end up. But what a mess, and all because there is no money to do anything with any more, and no powers to raise any either.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths
exploring urban wastelands

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards