Tube Lines – Promoting Gold

Tube Lines – Promoting Gold

Tube Lines is a London-based wholly owned subsidiary of TFL responsible for, maintaining, renewing and upgrading the London underground Network.  Tube Lines has  a substantial fleet of 1025 vehicles and a Haulage fleet of 31 vehicles. The Haulage and Compliance Manager Kevin King explains how FORS has spearheaded the implementation of initiatives to help improve the efficiency of operations within the company.  Improvement in fuel utilisation and safety mechanisms on the vehicles are evident through the FORS process. We want to lead from the front, acting as an example to all other London companies showing that FORS Gold is achievable.

We are based in Acton, West London supporting the TFL umbrella by supplying vehicles to deliver/collect train parts, lost property/mail and waste collections across London Underground. We have managed the FORS process and by using FORS documentation have introduced a strategy to purchase twenty three new trucks this year all with the WRRR requirements fitted as standard; these include ten dustcarts, eight have low level entry cabs. They have bi folding doors and the other new vehicles have glass windows fitted to the nearside to enhance the drivers all round vision. They all have four way cameras with recording systems and the latest tracking devices which are used for route planning by the transport planners. After achieving Gold status last year we have continued to review all the requirements, this means analysing the data on fuel, fines and accidents, continually training the staff and reviewing best practice. By monitoring and investigating all these areas on a regular basis we were able to ensure that our standards have stayed at the high level required to achieve gold.

Over the past year we have continued to train our drivers, ensuring that they complete the required e-learning programmes through FORS. Drivers have to complete the compulsory standard CPC courses, the Safe Urban Driving course, Van smart and cycle e-learning courses ensuring their awareness of cyclists on the road whilst continuing to do their other mandatory training. All drivers are assessed annually by a trained competent person which has seen an improvement in their skills, knowledge and awareness.  The result of this has seen a reduction in fuel consumption, accidents and fines.

We have continued to review Penalty Charge Notice’s and any Night Lorry infringements. All the routes are planned, providing the drivers with valid information about restricted parking. Iif a fine is received the individual at fault has to pay the fine. The enforcement of this has led to an increased awareness amongst the drivers. We also have a more proficient recording system since achieving silver and gold awards. This has allowed us to monitor and take action, it allows us to filter out recurrent events, offenders and hotspots, whilst making drivers take more responsibility for their actions. The new vehicles are fitted with Euro 6 diesels which have had an impact in reducing our emissions foot print this year which will affect the NOx and particulates.

Tube Lines was a founder member of the original working group that created  the FORS accreditation programme in 2008 and was awarded Bronze status.

We have renewed our Gold status four times and have used this to help monitor our policies and standards using the FORS criteria as a guide.

We passed the bronze audit first time which showed us how important it is to keep accurate records, keep policies up to speed and continually review practices. This also encourages us to put in place a training package for our staff to meet the changing demands of the transport industry.

As part of our accreditation we realised that not only the drivers but the office team should be trained and complete the e-learning and classroom courses and attend the  working groups on offer.  This has enhanced FORS processes in the department.

Tim Dawes – Driver Assessor – “Since introducing the camera systems we have enhanced the ability to speed up investigations of our accidents. This has made the drivers more aware and responsible resulting in reduced all round infringements.”

Glenn Jones – Fleet manager – “Completed the practitioner’s course which has helped him to understand FORS from a small fleet perspective.”

One key benefit which has helped improve the company has been the introduction of four way cameras with recording.  This has helped the drivers and the company when investigating accidents and incidents.  The recorded footage has helped with a crash for cash claim and improved out insurance process.

George Mangan a LGV driving assessor states – “When I carry out assessments, the new tools provided by the company help aid the driver whilst out on the road, I explain to the driver how the mirrors and cameras can help him and that the CCTV system is there to aid the company and defend any false accusations. This enhancement has helped the driver’s vision and observations. This has made them more aware of vulnerable road users.”

The main reason for progressing through to FORS gold was to bring the best practices that FORS offer the business.  This enhanced the transport operation, in particular one of the safety requirements for the drivers is the turn left devices and camera systems.  This has improved their ability to drive in London.

Although annual mileage has increased this is due to the increased kilometres required by the ten vehicles used for waste collection and also the introduction of vans into the FORS application. There has been a reduction in accidents and PCN’s over the twelve months. This is a positive indication showing that staff are more aware of the requirements around London.




Incidents per 100,000 Kms

Number of PCNs

Aug – July 2017

368437 53 54

Aug – July 2018

501165 45


Percentage improvement (36 .02%) 15.09 %

35.18 %

  • Driver health and fitness review – Tube Lines carry out medicals for all new starters, periodic staff assessments and fitness to work with our own Occupational health department to ensure drivers are fit. Eye sight tests are carried out every six months as part of FORS. We have a strong drug and alcohol policy and staff are tested on an adhoc basis.
  • Strategy for recruiting drivers – Tube Lines strategy is to promote within the department and train van drivers to LGV driver’s positions. Two van drivers have been trained this year.
  • Noise assessment – Tube Lines has a stringent noise policy and reviews this regularly. Staff are reminded of this through regular tool box talks. Vehicles are fitted with night heaters to stop idling at night. Secondary batteries are fitted to allow operation of the tail lifts without the engine running for loading and unloading. Anti-idling devices have been fitted on some vehicles which ensure that the engine will cut off after ten minutes. All vehicles are washed at our depot where we have contained drainage.
  • Modal shift and alternative vehicles – We have a full time employee reviewing environmental options and impacts to the business. This includes reviewing alternative fuels in the market place. We have introduced 6 Hydrogen vans the haulage fleet. Waste is removed from within the underground and is brought out by rail and then moved by road to dedicated tipping sites.

Tube Lines future plan is to continue to replace the fleet with the latest available technology.  Where possible low level cabs will be purchased.  We are looking at alternative fuelled vehicles in the current market place.  The new vehicles purchased are Euro 6 Diesels which will help with the CO2, NOx and particulate matter. We ensure all new suppliers are FORS accredited and we actively encourage that existing suppliers go from Bronze to silver.

Tube Lines already have Gold accreditation and our goal is to maintain this standard and continue to develop our staff, policies and processes.  We regularly review these to meet the developing accreditation and business needs.

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