Tube passengers walk on track after power fails

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of London Underground passengers had to walk along the track today after trains were stuck in tunnels because of a power failure.

Commuters and other travellers had to walk for 20 minutes along the track of the Jubilee Line lit only by staff carrying torches, leaving many feeling traumatised and angry by the breakdown.

A Transport for London spokesman said: "Due to power supply problems in the Baker Street area, the Jubilee line was suspended between Finchley Road and London Bridge at 0852 this morning.

"Five trains were stalled as a result. Passengers were taken off all five trains, with the last returned to stations at around 1130.

"London Underground would like to apologise to customers whose journeys were disrupted this morning particularly those who were on the stalled trains. An investigation is currently under way to establish the cause of the power failure."

Some passengers caught up in the breakdown posted messages on the micro blogging website Twitter, including: "I was one of those on Ldn metro commute from hell, 3 hrs stuck in tunnel, walked out in darkness."

Another wrote: "Another great day for London transport - should have stayed in bed."

Meanwhile, the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) claimed that an overtime ban by London Underground workers in a row over job cuts caused "chaos" on a number of Tube lines during the morning rush hour.

There were severe delays on the Central and Metropolitan Lines and minor delays on the District, Northern and Piccadilly Lines, causing problems for commuters and other travellers.

The RMT said an ongoing ban on overtime by thousands of workers in a long-running row over job cuts had caused today's delays.

The union, and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), has already held two strikes and is threatening fresh walkouts next month, claiming Transport for London was now planning to cut almost 2,000 jobs.

General secretary Bob Crow said today: "This morning's chaos on a number of key Tube lines is mainly down to the combined impact of the ongoing RMT and TSSA overtime ban and has exposed just how reliant LU are on the goodwill of their staff to deliver a decent service.

"That goodwill has been destroyed by the attack on 2,000 Tube jobs and it is now down to the Mayor and his officials to get their heads out of the sand and meet with us directly to resolve the growing transport crisis in London."

The unions claimed that Tube services were running slower and less frequently across the system as a result of the overtime ban.

A Transport for London spokesman said: "We apologise for the disrupted journeys that some passengers would have faced this morning, which were caused by a variety of factors such as signal failures.

"The RMT leadership's overtime ban was only a factor in delays on the Metropolitan line, where the RMT leadership is trying to hamper routine maintenance. Despite their claims, staff on the Piccadilly and Northern lines are not involved in their pointless industrial action.

"We have given cast-iron assurances that our staffing changes are being delivered with no compulsory redundancies and no pay reductions, that every station with a ticket office will retain one and that all stations will remain staffed. We will be happy to repeat these assurances to the unions' leaderships when we meet at Acas later this week."

Talks to try to avert fresh strikes are set to resume tomorrow).

Meanwhile, signalling problems caused delays of over 30 minutes for rail travellers between Paisley and Glasgow and Hastings and Tunbridge Wells this morning.