Tube breakdown highlights need for new funds
Friday 22 November 1996
But the incident was immediately pounced upon by passenger groups and transport campaigners as an example of the poor state of London's underground railway system.
The problem was traced to the 91-year-old Lots Road power station in Fulham, which provides nearly all the electricity for the system of 11 lines and 248 stations. An estimated 20,000 people were trapped for up to two hours after the failure of a control valve on one of the main gas boilers at the power station.
London Transport said that eventually all the trapped trains were brought to stations where people were able to get off onto platforms.
This is the third major electrical failure in the past three years. In April a power cut, which officials then called the "worst ever", hit the Underground, causing chaos for Easter tourists and sports fans after a fire in a cable near Earls Court station.
And on 23 November 1993, the Central Line stopped running and it took a week to find the fault which was traced to a cable in the roof of Lots Road.
While London Transport says that these immediate problems are not related to the years of under-investment, which are apparent to all the 2.7 million daily users of the system, it is very concerned that its spending plans will be an easy target in next week's Budget.
With road-building already being cut, and the subsidies paid to private rail companies protected by government commitments, the pounds 400m given to London Transport last year is set to be drastically reduced, despite warnings by business leaders and passenger groups.
Last month, a leaked report from London Transport revealed that services would have to be cut and speed restrictions implemented because of the poor state of many parts of the system. The report warned of widespread problems with water penetration which could cause electrical failures such as the one on Wednesday night.
It also suggested that one station, Ladbroke Grove, in west London, was in danger of totally collapsing on its own foundations, and that falling masonry could hit passengers.
Capital, the pro-public transport group, said that part of the problem is low morale at the Lots Road power station. The plant is likely to be closed down after the supply of power to the London Underground is privatised.
Four consortia are competing to supply electricity to the system in a 30-year contract being offered under the Government's Private Finance Initiative. The contract will involve the operation, maintenance, financing and renewal of the Tube's high-voltage power supply.
London Transport said that it expected to be able to award the contract to the winning consortia next spring.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install update
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
Khorasan: Muhsin al-Fadhli - the man leading a terror group more feared by US officials than Isis
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Alicia Keys leaks nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: English Teacher needed in Wrexham The ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: English Teacher The school, the childW...
£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Chester: English Teacher The school, th...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Maths Teacher (one day per week) Gr...