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Several hurt as Tube 'power' blasts shut down network
07/07/2005 - 09:54:39

Several people were injured today after explosions blamed on a power surge closed down the entire London Underground network.

Passengers spoke of hearing a “huge thud” in one of the incidents at Edgware Road station. Travellers emerged from tunnels covered in blood and soot.

Emergency services reported several injuries.

Scotland Yard declared the emergency a “major incident”.

A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said that two trains remain stuck in tunnels at Edgware Road, but it is not known if they have collided or if passengers remain onboard.

“It’s difficult to know exactly what is going on at the moment,” he said.

“The initial report came from Liverpool Street, but there are incidents occurring across the network.”

He said that officers have been sent into the network to assist with rescue operations.

“Officers are working at tunnel and platform level to help get people out and to help find out what has happened,” he said.

Mainline train company First Great Western said its services into London's Paddington station were terminating at Reading in Berkshire because of the Underground crisis.

British Transport Police said power surge incidents, some of which caused explosions, occurred at Aldgate, Edgware Road, King's Cross, Old Street and Russell Square.

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We have just sent some resources out to the scene. We have sent a number of vehicles to Liverpool Street station.”

BTP confirmed that there are “walking wounded” and said paramedics have responded to one report of a person classed as “life at risk”.

“There are walking wounded, but that is as much as we know at the moment,” said the spokesman.

He confirmed that the first incident took place on the Metropolitan Line between Aldgate and Liverpool Street and said the line has been evacuated.

British Transport Police said work is being carried out to establish the precise cause of the problem.

“It’s chaos, with people trying to work out what has happened,” said a spokesman.

“All we know at the moment is that staff reported a loud bang at 8.49am.

“No one is sure what caused an explosion, but it is thought it could have been a collision, a power cut, or a power cable problem.”

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman: “We have been called to two explosions, one at Aldgate and one at Edgware Road. We have no other information at the moment. Reports are still coming in.”

According to Tube infrastructure company Metronet, which is responsible for maintaining the Metropolitan line, today’s incident was caused “by some kind of power surge”.

A spokesman went on: “We don’t know the extent of the problem yet.”

The incident caused major disruption to the entire network with stations across the capital being closed.

Passengers were told that all services were being suspended because of a power fault across the network.

One commuter whose train was diverted because of the chaos said travellers were told there had been a crash involving Tube trains near King’s Cross station.

“The area is solid with people and I have seen many commuters with blackened faces just walking around looking stunned,” said Gerard Bithell.

His overground train was diverted from Moorgate to King’s Cross because the station was closed.

“We were told there had been a power failure at Moorgate and some kind of accident at King’s Cross,” he said.

Passengers involved in the Metropolitan Line explosion at Edgware Road are reported to have attempted to smash the windows of their Tube carriages with umbrellas in an attempt to escape.

Police are thought to have been sent into tunnels to evacuate people along the tracks.

Bradley Anderson told Sky News that he was involved in the Edgware Road incident on a Circle line train.

He said: “We just left Paddington station. About 15 seconds later there was some kind of explosion and we collided with another train.

“We were heading into the station when there was some kind of explosion or something.

“Everything went black and we collided into some kind of oncoming train.

“There was debris all over the trains. They evacuated us.”

The National Grid, which supplies power to the Underground, said there had been no problems with its system this morning which could have contributed to the incidents.

Scotland Yard said they are assisting with what has been termed a ``major incident'' and confirmed there have been casualties.

A spokesman said officers were called out to Aldgate station at 8.50am to assist City of London and British Transport Police.

“All of the emergency services are on scene. There have been some casualties. This has been declared as a major incident,” said the spokesman.

“Too early to state what has happened at this stage.”

A witness who said he was on a train hit by an explosion told Sky News he saw people covered in blood in a carriage.

“People were covered in blood,” said the passenger.


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