Gloom at Dome as tube hits snag (UK - subway signal failure - insufficient testing) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

ISSUE 1685 Wednesday 5 January 2000

Gloom at Dome as Tube hits snag By Oliver Poole

The New Millennium Experience Company London Transport

HUNDREDS of families on their way to the Millennium Dome were delayed in packed Tube trains yesterday after a signal failure halted the Jubilee Line.

Passengers, many with children, were stranded at stations and in tunnels. At one point drivers were advising passengers to abandon the line, which cost #3.5 billion to build and, it was hoped, would be the main transport link to the Dome.

The breakdown is the latest blow to the #758 million Dome project. People attending on New Year's eve spoke of delay and confusion and paying visitors have complained bitterly about long queues to see the exhibitions. One visitor said: "It was horrendous. The carriage was standing room only and very hot. There were a lot of fractious children on board who had been looking forward to an exciting day out. Instead they were trapped in conditions that even adults were finding unbearable."

Another said that he had been told by staff to leave the train when it reached Canary Wharf station, the stop before the Dome at North Greenwich. I had already spent 50 minutes getting three stops from London Bridge and then we were told that was it. He said: "People were being advised to get the Docklands Light Railway to Stratford then catch the Jubilee Line back to the Dome. It would have taken ages."

Since the 10-mile extension was connected to the old Jubilee Line last November, there have been more than a dozen breakdowns serious enough for passengers to be told to seek alternative transport.

Last month Tube officials admitted that the line had been put into operation before it could be properly tested so as to be running by the time the Dome opened. However, yesterday's failure raises questions about whether it will cope with the more than 20,000 passengers it is expected to carry to the exhibition each day. A spokesman for London Transport said services were running "better than we had hoped" with no delays or overcrowding. He apologised for the signal failure but said: "The actual stoppage was only 15 minutes."

At the Dome queues were not as long as on Monday - when visitors had to spend up to two hours waiting in line - but many people still complained that it took too long to get into many of the exhibits. Lines for the Body Zone were about a third shorter than on Monday, but families still faced a 40-minute wait for a seven-minute tour of the human statue. This was despite the fact that only around 20,000 people were attending the Dome - 15,000 fewer than capacity.

Organisers, embarrassed by scenes of queues, said schemes, including the possibility of a supermarket ticketing system, were being considered.

-- Homer Beanfang (, January 06, 2000


For those of you who have not had the pleasure of using the Tube,signal failure has been a factor of everyday commuter life for years.It's one of the reasons why people in London have mobile they can phone ahead to say they are going to be late !! I kid you not !!

-- Chris (, January 06, 2000.

See also

for beautfully biting sarcasm of the event.

-- Old Git (, January 06, 2000.

As a daily commuter on that line, let me further elucidate.

The line used to go from NW London to the centre. Over the last two years, they've been building an extension to the "dome" and East London. It's been late and way over budget and plagued by strikes, allegations of sabotage, dirty tricks, broken management promises, etc., etc.

In mid-December they opened the extension. The first week, I don't think I experienced a single day without serious hold-ups caused by signalling problems. Since then, it's gradually been improving. This week, they had problems only 2/5 days. Certainly not a Y2K problem. More, I'd guess, shaking various faults out of a new system while its in use by the public. It'll probably be working as well as London transport ever does by February.

When things go well, the new line does actually save me five minutes!

-- Nigel (, January 07, 2000.

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