'

Software failure causes Tube closure

Metronet faces possible £1m fine after IT blunder caused chaos on Central Line

Widespread delays to the London Underground this week were caused by one of the Tube's infrastructure operators installing new software.

Metronet's software caused the Central Line to be closed during rush hour on Monday and resulted in delays throughout the week, affecting hundreds of thousands of passengers. The software was installed on Metronet's Central Line signalling system over the weekend to take account of new timetables introduced on Monday.

"For the Central Line, the loading of new computer software containing London Underground's revised timetabling information caused a total breakdown of the systems at the start of service," Metronet said in a statement, admitting, "Disruptions of this nature are unacceptable."

Metronet may be fined £1m for the failure, according to The Times.

The incident is not the first time Metronet has been in the firing line over IT failures. Just last week, the public-private partnership (PPP) arbiter criticised Metronet in a lengthy report. The arbiter accused Metronet of poor IT integration, lack of supply chain software and rising IT costs. These have led to delays of station refurbishment, track renewals and system upgrades, the report said.