Please mind the gap between breaking down Central Line trains

Commuters pay for decades of underfunding

by Juliette, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Travelling with young children and a buggy on the London Underground is never easy, but the ongoing disruption to the Central Line is making it a nightmare.

Since November 2023, there have been constant delays meaning we regularly see gaps between trains of ten minutes or more. The Central Line is the second busiest tube line, so the knock on effect of these long gaps is that when the trains do arrive they are even more overcrowded than usual. Trying to squeeze on to these train carriages with a buggy and two young children is a difficult task. And there are many times I’ve dropped the children off at nursery late due to the disruption.

Commuters on the Central Line.
Commuters on the Central Line.
Photo: Chris Sampson/CC

Frustratingly, it does not look like it will be improving anytime soon. Transport for London (TfL) says the delays are likely to last until the summer, or even for years! The trains are 30-years old and a high number of their motors have been developing faults, meaning trains are taken out of service while they are repaired. This is due to years of underfunding of the tube network as a result of Tory austerity and Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s unwillingness to fight for the resources needed to transport people around the capital.

The regular overhauls needed have not been taking place over the last few years. Tube bosses have admitted this means that similar problems could occur over the next few years on other tube lines, potentially causing even more misery for passengers!

The old motors on Central Line trains are due to be replaced with more reliable ones by the end of the decade, this is still not what is needed. What is really needed to maintain a regular service for tube passengers is a new fleet of trains which the Tories will not pay for. Khan puts the blame on the government but is not prepared to fight the Tories to get the funding that the underground network desperately needs. Instead, passengers continue to pay the price with a substandard service!

The Socialist Party calls for a democratically planned, massively expanded and free public transport system in London and across the country.