More delays as miserable week ends on the Tube

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The Independent Online

London Underground travellers suffered fresh delays and disruption today, completing a miserable week for Tube users amid claims that the system was in "meltdown".

The Waterloo and City Line, which connects Waterloo Station with the City of London, was suspended for a while because of flooding.

The line, known as the Drain, carries thousands of commuters every day into the heart of the City.

It was the fifth successive day of problems on the Tube, which has been hit by cracked and defective rails, causing travel chaos.

The Jubilee and Metropolitan Lines were both suspended yesterday, and thousands of passengers suffered major disruption after being forced to walk along the tracks through darkened tunnels from stranded trains on two lines on Monday and Tuesday.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association are due to take two days of strike action next month in a row over job cuts, which would cause massive disruption to services.

The unions have already held two strikes and are pressing ahead with plans for the next walkouts unless talks at the conciliation service Acas lead to a breakthrough in the deadlocked dispute.

Meanwhile a fresh dispute was brewing today involving Tube drivers who are refusing to use a new state-of-the-art signalling system - on safety grounds.

The drivers claimed they had not been given enough training, and said computer software controlling the system was regularly breaking down.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow claimed the Tube was now in "meltdown" and urged London Mayor Boris Johnson to get involved in talks to resolve the row over job losses which led to the strikes.

The RMT said today that Tube maintenance workers were continuing to take industrial action short of a strike, warning it would have an impact on services.

TSSA leader Gerry Doherty today accused the Mayor of trying to "bury bad news" over fare rises in the New Year by releasing information on Wednesday when the Government was publishing the comprehensive spending review.

"It is high time that Boris stopped telling porky pies to Londoners, from his underhand tactics in announcing fare increases to his blatant re-writing of the truth over ticket office closures.

"He is dealing in deception and double think. He is like Pinocchio - unable to tell the truth at all times. It is time he grew up and entered into sensible direct talks with the unions to solve the Tube crisis which is getting worse by the day."