OVER 100 companies from the private sector have been sent a Market Sounding Paper by London Underground after registering their interest in the Public-Private Partnership announced by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott on March 20 (RG 5.98 p289). Responses were required by mid-September and LU was to ask ’a cross-section of respondents’ to meetings ’to discuss the way ahead’, with other interested parties asked to give their answers to ’specific questions’.

Due to start in spring 2000, the PPP will involve a public-sector LU Operating Company retaining responsibility for safety, fares, train and station operation as well as signalling and network control. The company will be owned by Transport for London, which as an executive arm of the yet to be created Greater London Authority will replace London Transport. Infrastructure provision and maintenance will be the responsibility of one or more private-sector companies.

Representatives of the civil engineering, infrastructure maintenance, financial and consultancy sectors have registered an interest in the PPP, as well as utilities and companies involved in project management and property development. Those already active in Britain’s rail sector include Adtranz, Bombardier, First Engineering, GB Railways, Railtrack and WS Atkins. LU’s power supply passed into private hands on August 16 when the Seeboard Powerlink consortium began a 30-year Power contract under the Private Finance Initiative (RG 9.98 p570).

  • CityLink Telecommunications Ltd has been selected as the single bidder to install and manage a new communications system for LU, comprising a digital radio system based on the Tetra standard and an optical fibre network for telephones, data transmission and video. Responsible for financing and managing the Connect project, worth £1bn over 20 years, CityLink is owned by Racal Telecommunications, Flour Daniel International, Hyder, Charterhouse Bank and Motorola. o