Central Line passengers stuck in Tube tunnel after train strikes object 'that fell from engineering train'


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The Independent Online

More than 170 passengers were left stuck inside a London Tube train for nearly an hour and around 100,000 more faced disruption as delays hit one of the capital’s most important Underground lines this morning.

A train was stranded near Holland Park in west London after striking an object on the track, believed to be a piece of engineering equipment fallen from another train. The incident caused huge delays, coming during rush hour on a day which also saw parts of the eastern end of the same line closed down for engineering work.

Tube staff had to send another train to collect passengers trapped during the delays as upwards of 100,000 people experienced disruption and queues on their morning journey to work. The eastern end of the line also saw delays early this morning on, due to a faulty train at Loughton.

It is believed other trains hit the same obstacle, thought to be a shoe beam - part of the power take-off – which hit the power rail and welded itself to the track. They will have to be checked for damage before being returned to use. The power rail was damaged during the collision.

The Central Line is one of London’s most important, cutting through the centre of the city on an east-west axis and passing through many of its most popular stops. On the line, which carries 700,000 passengers per day, are stations serving the City, including Bank, as well as Central London stations St Paul’s, Holborn and Chancery Lane.

Some of the West End’s main stations, including Oxford Circus and Bond Street are also on the Central Line and it extends out to suburbs from stations in Essex to the western limits of Greater London. That makes it one of the main lines used by passengers to make their daily commute into central London, many of whose journeys could otherwise take more than two hours on buses.

A Transport for London (TfL) spokesman said: “The Central line is part suspended between Marble Arch and White City due to a train hitting an obstruction on the track at Holland Park which has damaged the power rail.

“No customers or staff were injured. Our engineers are working flat out to restore a full service as quickly as possible but we expect delays to take a few a few hours.

“We apologise for the delays and we are doing all we can to get trains running as quickly as possible.”

There were severe delays over the remainder of the route with the line remaining part-suspended until later into the morning.

Investigators are looking into the incident but vandalism has been ruled out. There was a scheduled closure of the line between Grange Hill and Newbury Park in east London, which undoubtedly added to the chaos.

Furious passengers vented their frustration on Twitter. User Matthew Benge wrote: “Spent last two hours on defunct Central Line train, stranded in Holland Park with only a free Evian to make up for it. “

Jess Ely wrote: “So the one day i really need it the central line has decided to die. Helpful”

Bil Ahmed posted: “Stuck on the central line with severe delays driver has said “i don’t know whats going on my bosses are not telling me” I hate TFL!”