Oxford Circus is the worst tube station in London to suffer from lengthy closures because of escalator repairs, a new report has shown.

A Freedom of information (FOI) request by the London Assembly Liberal Democrats revealed that three sets of escalators at Oxford Circus were shut for 62 weeks in the summer of 2011.

Since then the escalators have been closed 31 times for 149 hours or almost 20 working days, according to the Evening Standard. Over the entire tube network 10 escalators were replaced in the past three years and in eight of these there has been 517 hours out of action, or 13 working weeks.

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, said: "It is amazing that 45 years after we put a man on the moon it  still takes Transport for London as long as 15 months to just replace a single escalator.

"It is time that Transport for London ensured that escalators were replaced in a much shorter time.  But most importantly we need assurances that after the immense disruption caused by replacing an escalator that they are reliable and don't break down endlessly."

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground, said: "The reason is you have to basically build it on site because there is no room to get the kit in pre-assembled.

"These are narrow shafts which means you have to do everything by hand. It's a real challenge. One of the things we are looking at is making it much more maintenance friendly. There are about 15 different types of escalators and you are making bespoke parts for some of these machines."

Image: Guardian