Thousands trapped underground as power cuts hit tube

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Thousands trapped underground as power cuts hit tube

18th October 2010

Thousands of London Underground passengers were trapped in packed, airless conditions for two hours on Monday, as travel chaos descended on the Jubilee line.

Following power failures between Baker Street and West Hampstead, five trains were caught stranded between stations with passengers forced to wait hours before being evacuated.

Karl Tonks, a health and safety specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said that conditions on board the packed, humid trains had been horrendous. "Due to the lack of power, passengers had to wait in the dark with no air-conditioning and no announcements telling them what was going on, before they were evacuated."

The power failures occurred around 9am - at the height of Monday morning's rush hour - with the final train evacuated over two hours later at 11.30am.

Around 2,400 passengers were forced to walk for 20 minutes in near darkness alongside Jubilee line rails, with their only light coming from the torches used by Underground staff escorting them to safety.

"Many passengers including a pregnant woman were understandably left traumatised by the incident," said Karl, "There are reports of people getting more and more distressed as the hours went past, with video footage taken by commuters showing a man in an oxygen mask being treated by paramedics."

Relieved passengers - speaking after being evacuated to the surface where they were finally able to breathe fresh air - were left wondering why it had taken so long for them to be evacuated.

"Leaving passengers deep underground for hours, with minimal communication in appalling conditions is simply unacceptable," said Karl. "With the heat, darkness, lack of air and no-one knowing what was happening; it is little wonder that people were left anxious and afraid. Transport for London needs to launch an immediate investigation to establish the cause of the power failure and why it took so long for passengers to be evacuated."

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Source - Sky News