Tube travellers trapped after derailment

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The Independent Online

Eleven Tube passengers were taken to hospital today after hundreds were trapped in a tunnel for two hours after a rush-hour Underground train derailment.

The incident happened on the Central line westbound between Mile End and Bethnal Green stations in east London just after 9am.

It was not thought the derailment was terrorism-related but rail investigators were looking at the possibility of an obstruction on the line.

It was thought six carriages came off the track but the train remained in an upright position.

It was not until about 11am that all the passengers from the train, and customers from another train stuck behind it, were led to Mile End station. There were thought to have been about 350 passengers on each of the two trains.

Thirty-seven people were injured, 11 of whom were taken to hospital suffering from minor injuries, including panic attacks, breathing difficulties and an ankle injury.

Superintendent Phil Trendall of the British Transport Police said: "There is no indication of any terrorist attack."

Richard Porter, operations manager for London Ambulance, said: "The temperature above ground was about 21C (70F). That can rise by 5-10C (when) below. People were uncomfortable and sweaty.

"The rescue operation was very swift. We had water and were helping people very quickly."

Both Mile End and Bethnal Green underground stations remained closed, and there was no service on the Central line between Liverpool Street and Leytonstone.

Today's incident site is only a few stops from Chancery Lane station on the Central line where 32 passengers were injured in a derailment in January 2003.

The immediate cause of that derailment was a gearbox failure which led to a traction motor detaching.

Seven passengers were hurt in a derailment at Camden Town station in October 2003 and there was also a derailment in the same month on the District line at Hammersmith.

No one was hurt in the Hammersmith incident and there were also no injuries in a Central line derailment at White City in May 2004.

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