Monday 28 November 2016 10:57 am

RMT calls for total closure of Piccadilly Line until trains are fixed - and it wants the Night Tube launch date postponed

The RMT union has called for the Piccadilly Line to be closed until trains are fully fixed, as delays on the line continue this morning, and wants the Night Tube services start date to be postponed.

Around half of the Piccadilly Line fleet has been taken out of service due to a need for wheel repairs – meaning commuters are still facing delays on the line, and in some areas are being forced to use alternative methods of transport. RMT said it has been told "the problem could take weeks to fix properly".

The union called on the mayor and London's transport commissioner to hold a summit meeting in order to come up with a plan of action.

RMT said this morning that "urgent discussions should be held at top level to give serious consideration to the Piccadilly line being closed until a major problem with flatted wheels is properly sorted out and all the trains are fixed and safe".

The union also wants the 16 December start date for Piccadilly Line Night Tube services to be postponed, however, a Transport for London spokesman told City A.M. that the launch date is still in place. The 24-hour service will see a train run every 10 minutes between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 5, which the spokesman said will put less strain on capacity than normal service.

"The entire Piccadilly line fleet of trains has got a major engineering problem which has finally boiled over . It's nothing new and it is down to pressure on services and sheer managerial incompetence," said RMT general secretary Mick Cash.

"The attempt to shift the blame onto drivers and fleet engineers is disgraceful. Those workers, along with the station staff, have slogged their guts out to keep passengers safe and trains moving."

Cash added: "Basically the problem is flatted wheels , which mean the train has to come off the road for a chunk of time to have the wheel checked and lathed back to safe tolerences. London Underground fleet engineers have worked under impossible management pressure to keep services running.

"But now the sheer danger of massive delays and overcrowding means that the service on the Piccadilly Line is inherently unsafe and will get worse under Night Tube."