Plan to sell part of London Underground fleet branded ‘quite mad’

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Cash-strapped transport bosses plan to sell part of the London Underground fleet and lease it back to raise money for new tube trains.

The proposal was today described as ‘quite mad’ by a senior member of the London Assembly.

Transport for London hopes the deal will raise £875m to bankroll new trains on the Piccadilly Line in 2023.

TfL finances are being squeezed by a combination of government cuts, the Mayor’s partial fares freeze, and a drop in revenue from advertising and Congestion Charge fines.

The budget has also been hit by fewer passengers using buses because of delays, leading to lower than expected income from fares.

TfL finance boss Simon Kilonback said despite the squeeze, the new Piccadilly Line trains would be ordered in the coming months.