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 Saturday, 25 January, 2003, 18:41 GMT
Thirty hurt after Tube crash
Chancery Lane
The train derailed at Chancery Lane station
More than 30 people have been taken to hospital after a Tube train carrying 800 people derailed in central London.

Passengers were thrown around amid flying glass after the rear three carriages derailed and hit a wall as the train pulled into Chancery Lane shortly before 1400 GMT.

Terrified travellers moved through emergency doors to escape onto the Central Line platform as soot from the tunnel walls filled the air.

RMT leader Bob Crow said he understood a motor fell off the bottom of the train after a bolt sheared.

Marian Cassidy
The windows caved in and the doors opened in the tunnel and we were just bouncing up and down

Marian Cassidy
He also said the train driver reported a fault with the train at Leytonstone earlier but was ordered to carry on.

The Central Line has been suspended for the weekend and will possibly remain closed for a few days more.

All the trains in the Central Line fleet have been withdrawn from service while they are checked.

London Underground says it is not yet known what caused the Tube's worst incident for several years but police have ruled out vandalism or terrorism.

Passenger Marian Cassidy told BBC News: "People were trapped inside, the doors wouldn't open and people were trying to smash the windows."

She said that passengers were screaming as they walked from a carriage inside the tunnel, through an adjoining car and back on to the platform.

Other passengers said the train seemed to have been travelling fast before the accident and that the lights went out, plunging the carriages into darkness.

'Strange noise

The driver was treated for smoke inhalation and was breathalysed, but the results were negative.

London Transport said severe disruption on the Central line could last for two or three days while lifting gear is moved into place, but the carriages are intact and are being investigated.

I was absolutely panicking, we couldn't get out, all the lights went out and we could see people running

Claire Ellis
Inspector Philip Trendall of British Transport Police said that 32 people had suffered minor injuries.

All three emergency services instigated a major incident plan and helped blackened and shocked commuters as the area was quickly sealed off.

Michael Brown, customer service director for London Underground, said: "Clearly we are working very closely with British Transport Police and Her Majesty's Rail Inspectorate. It is far too early for me to speculate what the causes of this incident might be.

"The train involved is less than 10 years old and has a full maintenance history. London Underground safety record is second to none - and the Underground remains a very safe mode of travel around London."

Passenger Chris Mather said: "As soon as I got on the train at Bethnal Green it made a very strange noise all the way through to St Paul's.

"I travel on that stretch of line regularly and I have never heard that noise before - a kind of clanking."

'Windows caved in'

Ms Cassidy, who had been on her way to a job interview said: "We were just sitting there and it started jumping and it got worse and worse.

Firemen at Chancery Lane station
Firefighters initially suspected a blaze

"And then the windows caved in and the doors opened in the tunnel and we were just bouncing up and down.

"There was smoke and everything and the driver came on and said everyone to get to the front of the train and started shouting 'mayday'."

Shaun MacMahon, who was also on the train, said: "Something snapped underneath when we were at Liverpool Street.

"When we got into Chancery Lane the doors just ripped off. I just couldn't get out, people were panicking."

People who want information about casualties can call the incident line on 0870 0100 732.

Did you witness this incident? Send us your reaction using the form below.

Have your say
I'm thankful to God that I'm still here

Marcus Anderson, UK
I was on the platforms and suddenly there was this huge screaming and panic. Everyone including myself ran over to see what was happening. When I got there, it was a terrible sight, a train had gone off and hit a tunnel wall. I went over to ask the emergency services if I could help as I'm a doctor. But they refused. I'm thankful to God that I'm still here.
Marcus Anderson, UK

I was towards the front of the train, maybe the second or third coach. As we came into the station the train seem to be travelling a bit faster than normal and there was a loud banging noise as it slowed down. The driver came over the speakers and told us to leave the train and he shouted mayday, mayday! Most people you have interviewed have said how there was mostly calm. Not in my carriage - we fought for several minutes trying to get the door open with no success and there was complete panic. I even tried to kick the glass out but if just flexed. The locked doors were eventually opened by the station officer who was running up the train towards the rear of it, unlocking all the doors as he went. This was the most frightening experience in my life!
Chris, UK

I got on the train 3rd carriage from the end at Stratford Station. As soon as the train pulled away, there was an unusual loud sound, like a gush of wind travelling through the carriage. I thought at the time that this didn't sound right. This sound continued each time the train pulled away at each station heading towards Chancery Lane. As it left St Paul's the noise continued, and it was only when we approached Chancery Lane there was a loud rumbling noise, the carriage started to bounce up and down, people started screaming as the carriage lights went out.
Winward Regis, UK

People were looking out for each other

Mark, UK
We have just got home; we were on the last carriage that got stuck in the tunnel. Although there were some screams and some understandably distressed people there were also people telling every one to stay calm. There was no pushing or shoving and people were looking out for each other, helping each other if needed. Everyone walked out in a surprisingly orderly way. Just thank God no one was seriously hurt.
Mark, UK

I boarded the train at Bethnal Green at about 1.40pm. There was a louder than "screeching" sound as we left the station. This seemed louder as we arrived and left Liverpool Street. I changed trains at Bank. There appeared to be the smell of burning as the train left the station. The noise was very loud. Another passenger was commenting on the smell to a LUL staff member as I left the platform.
Vineet Wadehra, UK

My fiancée and I were on the Central Line platform as the derailing train approached. We had just picked up her engagement ring in Hatton Garden and were on our way to the London Business School for her afternoon class. The train seemed to rip through the station. As soon as I saw the doors fly off the train car, as it came around the corner into the station I knew it was time to get out of the station. My fiancé and I are so happy to be alive.
Jason Josefs, UK

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Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.

  The BBC's Simon Montague
"Police leaving the scene ruled out terrorism or crime"
  Bob Crow, RMT
"There was probably something wrong with the underneath of one of the carriages"
  Tony Travers, Department of Government, LSE
"It's worth investigating whether corporate attention was not on the day-to-day running of the Underground"
See also:

25 Jan 03 | England
25 Jan 03 | England
25 Jan 03 | England
23 Jan 03 | England
03 Feb 02 | Politics
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