TfL bosses face grilling over prospect of 'Tube meltdown' during weekend of the royal wedding, FA Cup final and engineering works

 
Rebecca Smith
TfL is planning engineering works over the busy weekend
TfL is planning engineering works over the busy weekend (Source: Getty)

Members of the London Assembly will grill Transport for London (TfL) representatives tomorrow over the prospect of "a Tube meltdown" this weekend with big events on the cards.

On Saturday 19 May, the royal wedding is taking place in Windsor and those travelling to the event have been urged to take public transport, while the FA Cup final will also be taking place on the same day at Wembley Stadium, and involves a London team in Chelsea.

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But TfL is also planning engineering works this weekend, and the District and Circle Lines will have closures, with part closures on London Overground, Bakerloo Line and the DLR.

The London Assembly Transport Committee said that so far, TfL and the mayor had "resisted calls" to suspend engineering work for the weekend.

Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the Transport Committee, said:

While engineering works on some weekends are inevitable, TfL and Network Rail do need to properly explain why so many are taking place on the weekend of both the FA Cup final and the royal wedding. Both these events have long been known about.

The failure of TfL and Network Rail to properly co-ordinate their closure programme will sadly create a great deal of inconvenience and disruption on one of London's busiest weekends of the year.

TfL though, has said there should not be any disruption for the FA Cup final with the Bakerloo Line work only be on the Sunday 20 May. There is a normal service planned on the Metropolitan and Jubilee Lines for football supporters to get to the stadium.

The Transport Committee will question Nigel Holness, director of network operations at TfL, and Peter McNaught, director of asset operations at the transport body tomorrow over "the noticeable increase in delays" on the Tube network in recent times, and "how it will avoid a meltdown" this coming weekend.

TfL is not expecting significant disruption, though it has noted that those travelling to Windsor may need to plan around a bit with the engineering work underway.

Holness said:

The vast majority of our services will be running as normal on the weekend of 19/20 May, helping everyone enjoy the royal wedding and the FA Cup Final.

There are some closures on the District and Circle Lines due to essential upgrade work and on London Overground due to Network Rail track work. I advise customers to check their best route by using our website and social media channels for live traffic news and service updates.

As for Tube delays, TfL has scrapped a couple of major upgrades on the Northern and Jubilee Lines after a surprise fall in passenger numbers, but has sought to find alternative ways of boosting services.

It emerged this week that TfL plans to extend its peak service on the busiest sections of the Jubilee Line by an hour later this month.

The capital's transport organisation intends to roll out a new timetable on the line to extend the 30 trains per hour service in both peaks - morning and evening - by at least an hour - between West Hampstead and North Greenwich.

That follows a January announcement that passengers on the Northern Line were to benefit from a boost in high frequency services, with TfL doubling the length of its highest frequency "evening peak" services in the central London section to tackle crowding.

Read more: Ranked: London's worst Tube lines for delays

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