Revealed: Why there were so many delays on the Central line in 2016

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:54 18 January 2017

The Central line has had two major works conducted in the last year.

The Central line has had two major works conducted in the last year.


The delays which have afflicted the Central line for the last year have been partly caused by two major maintenance works – both coincidentally occurring in 2016.

Noise at Wanstead

Ever been on the Central line from Wanstead and heard a terrible screeching noise?

Well you wouldn’t believe it but Transport for London (TfL) has actually made it worse.

After complaints from residents last year, dampening measures were installed on the track between Wanstead and Leyton.

But while this has worked for those outside the Tube, for users it’s now twice as loud.

Mark Hart, from TfL, said: “We don’t know how to solve it at the moment, but we will work it out.”

A Heavy Overhaul, which improves the carriages’ ventilation, and Programme Lift, which addresses motors and gearboxes, take place every 15 and eight years respectively.

By chance last year both were carried out by London Underground, which would have caused “reliability issues” explained Central line general manager Chris Taggart.

“We have needed to carry out these upgrades, but there is investment there,” he said.

Mr Taggart was speaking to councillors at the External Scrutiny Committee last Wednesday about what Cllr Khayer Chowdhury described as “unacceptable and intolerable delays”.

Over the last 12 months commuters have regularly got in touch with the Recorder to complain about waiting for 10 to 20 minutes for one train in rush hour.

Mr Taggart said the works were one reason, but this was also due to “not particularly reliable” trains.

He explained the Central line has 85 trains, and it needs 79 to run, so there is “little wiggle room if trains break or need maintenance”.

“I would love to be able to tell you in advance this train is delayed, but often we are working on the trains over night and it gets to the point too late when I find out we cannot use the trains,” he said.

While Crossrail will provide “some relief”, Mr Taggart informed the councillors that the line would not get new trains until 2030.

Cllr Chowdhury told the Recorder: “It seems like train reliability is a deeply concerning issue as the existing rolling stock is old and unreliable.

“Though I am unhappy with this, I am confident Transport for London (TfL) are working incredibly hard to improve the frequency of trains during rush hour.”

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