Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

NIGHTMARE ON THE TUBE LINE; 800 Trapped in Tunnel: Delays Go on Tonight

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

NIGHTMARE ON THE TUBE LINE; 800 Trapped in Tunnel: Delays Go on Tonight

Article excerpt

Byline: DICK MURRAY

MORE than 800 commuters were trapped in a Tube tunnel for more than two hours in searing heat today.

They eventually had to be walked along the tracks to safety. Twelve were treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration. It happened at the height of the rush hour the day after 500 passengers were trapped elsewhere on the same line, the Central, for 80 minutes in 38C temperatures. Tube bosses this afternoon warned that the major disruption would run into tonight's rush hour.

The line was closed between Liverpool Street and Holborn and London Underground could not say when it would reopen.

Hundreds of thousands of commuters are affected, with many forced into seeking alternative transport tonight and others enduring soaring temperatures on already packed Tube trains.

Today's nightmare began when a westbound train broke down at 8.50am as it approached Bank station. It was close enough to the platform for the hundreds on board to get out through the front Ambulance Service spokesman said: "The passengers were given oxygen and water after suffering heat exhaustion and dehydration. We sent five ambulances to the scene." The last commuter only got out of the tunnel at 10.45am.

The Central line and its trains are the responsibility of Metronet, the company already at the centre of claims that despite its profits of [pounds sterling]1 million a week it is failing to maintain the Tube properly.

Commuters spoke of panic in the suffocating heat and slammed Underground chiefs over the delay in the emergency response. Irfan Zulfiqar, 27, a trainee retail manager, said: "Since the terrorist attacks I thought they would have a quicker response. When the train first stopped half the lights went out but after 45 minutes they all went.

"That's when people started panicking. People were screaming. It was so hot down there that we were forcing the doors open to let a bit of air in." Adam Rogers, 23, said: "The driver was making no contact with us and people didn't know what was going to happen or how long we would be stuck. …

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