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Bakerloo Line 'in state of managed decline' and at risk of 'critical failure' due to 52-year-old trains

Passengers on the Bakerloo Line have suffered a 370 per cent increase in the amount of time they have “lost” over the last decade awaiting delayed or cancelled trains, it was revealed on Wednesday.

A report backed by Transport for London said the line was “at risk of critical failure” without an urgent overhaul and the replacement of its 52-year-old trains.

It said the replacement of the trains should go hand in hand with the extension of the line to Lewisham and Hayes – and called on the Government to set aside cash in next month’s Budget.

However it did not explain how the line – which could cost in excess of £10bn, according to TfL’s most-recent estimates – could be funded if the Government failed to provide all or some of the funding required.

According to the report, the Bakerloo Line clocked up a total of 630,500 “lost customer hours” in 2022/23, up 370 per cent on 2012, due to 589 train cancellations.

There are meant to be 24 trains an hour at peak times but this has reduced to about 20 due to the ongoing repair programme. The trains, first introduced in 1972, should have been replaced in 2008.

The report said the line was in a state of “managed decline”. About £55,000 a year is spent repairing each carriage. By mid-2030s, it will have cost over £500 million to maintain the fleet.

The report said: “The rolling stock is the oldest in use in the UK. Delays and maintenance costs are soaring and the line is at risk of critical failure.”

The 14-station extension would extend the line south from Elephant and Castle in tunnels to Lewisham, including two new stations on Old Kent Road. A second phase would use existing rail lines to extend it to Hayes.

But this would mean Hayes and stations along the route to Ladywell would lose their Southeastern train service to Charing Cross.

Two years ago the cost of the extension to Lewisham was estimated at between £5.2bn and £8.7bn at 2021 prices, plus a further £800m to £1.9bn to Hayes.

The report, commissioned by Central London Forward – a partnership of 12 central London councils – along with Lewisham and Southwark councils, said the extension could unlock 20,000 homes, create 10,000 jobs and deliver £1.5 billion boost to UK economy.

It would bring the Tube to Lewisham and Bromley for the first time, reducing the number of car journeys by 20,800 a day.

It would cut travel times – for example, a trip from Old Kent Road to Oxford Circus would be reduced from 38 minutes to 13 minutes. There would be 27 trains an hour.

However neither the new trains nor the extension is included in TfL’s business plan, which sets out its investment priorities to 2026/27.

The line’s supporters want it funded like Crossrail – renamed the Elizabeth line – with central Government, London government and big business all contributing.

The Bakerloo is one of three Tube lines without CCTV – the others are the Central and Piccadilly.

TfL is running out of time to exercise a clause in its contract with Siemens to place an order for it to build Bakerloo Line trains after it completes the new £1.6bn Piccadilly line fleet.

Councillor Kieron Williams, chair of Central London Forward and leader of Southwark council, said: “The Bakerloo line upgrade and extension is an investment that would keep our city moving forward.”

TfL commissioner Andy Lord said: “Securing a new fleet and signalling would improve reliability across the line. An extension to Lewisham and beyond would provide a step change in connectivity and capacity.”