The last JCI London business visit of the year took a group of dedicated members to a West London Underground depot on a freezing December Friday morning at 8.30am, but boy was it worth it. Living in West London, I had no idea that there was a huge manufacturing facility just 15 minutes walk from my house.
The work the team do there is simply incredible. When an ˝emergency˝ occurs somewhere on the network, i.e. something that could cause major delays or line closure, the team at the depot can manufacture a replacement part in just 12 hours, something that would take a commercial company 12 weeks. The team deals with on average three such emergencies every week!
From the smallest sign to the largest rail junction, they are all manufactured on site. There were machines for all types of processes (some invented and built on site!) and the skills of the workers there were obviously varied and complex.
Everyone on the tour was left gobsmacked by the fascinating facts about and enormity of the task of taking care of London's tube system. For example did you know...?
- The London Underground was built by American mobsters in order to launder money.
- There are over 900km of track on the London Underground and each kilometre is walked by a member of the London Underground team checking for faults every 48 hours!
- The majority of day-to-day repairs and maintenance have to be done in a window of just four hours overnight between the last and first trains. This includes the time it takes to walk the engineers and all their equipment to and from the site of repair between stations, often over a mile.
A huge thank you to our guide Dave Banks and Business Director Simon Bucknall for organising such a unique and captivating visit!
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