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Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 20:05 GMT
Tube staff walk out
Firefighters go out on strike
Firefighters from Euston Fire Station go on strike
About 100 London Underground staff are refusing to work over safety concerns following the firefighters' strike.

As a result, the Waterloo & City line has been suspended, much of the Bakerloo line is closed and the Piccadilly has long delays.

London Underground said that "a handful of drivers have refused to work over safety concerns".

To add to the problems, London will have only two specialist crews to free victims from car crashes during the fire strike.

Green Goddess
There are 90 Green Goddesses in London

The city will have 90 army Green Goddesses on stand-by but these do not carry any cutting equipment for road accidents.

The first of these left Territorial Army barracks in Camberwell, south London and returned after successfully dealing with a fire in a rubbish chute at a block of flats.

There are about 400 specialist teams around the country to deal with getting people out of their cars after an accident but it has been reported that only two will serve London.

The London Fire Brigade deals with about 50,000 fires and 5,600 road accidents a year. It also deals with 650 calls a day.

Val Shawcross, of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, said: "I think we are in a very serious situation.

Travel disruption

"Even though there is a safety net with the resources provided by the Ministry of Defence, the protection available to Londoners will not be as good as if the fire brigade were working normally."

London is also likely to see some travel disruption.

Managers of the London Underground said they will have to close 22 stations.

They will carry on running services but stressed that safety will not be compromised.

Stations that will close on strike days
Belsize Park
Caledonian Road
Chalk Farm
Covent Garden
Edgware Road (Bakerloo Line)
Elephant & Castle
Gloucester Road
Goodge Street
Holland Park
Holloway Road
Lambeth North
Lancaster Gate
Mornington Crescent
Regent's Park
Russell Square
Shadwell (peak hours only)
Tufnell Park

The stations that will have to close are all deep-lying ones which are only served by lifts.

They shut at 1800 BST on Wednesday when the firefighters' stoppage began.

London Underground's safety director, Mike Strzelecki, said: "We have clear, well-practised procedures to deal with fire alerts.

"But the critical safety factor is to evacuate potential danger areas quickly and calmly."

Tunnel concern

Mainline train services are less likely to be affected.

"We expect to run trains and we are not anticipating any significant disruption," said a spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies.

Transport for London is also concerned about the effects of the strike on London's road tunnels but it has decided that the Blackwall Tunnel which runs under the Thames in east London will remain open.

It was reported that it would be closed during the firefighters' strike, but instead there will be no rush hour tidal flow on Thursday or Friday morning.

This is to reduce the chance of an accident, but motorists have been warned to expect longer queues than normal. The crossing carries 50,000 vehicles a day.

A European-wide survey earlier this year criticised the tunnel's lack of separate access for emergency vehicles and the narrow lanes.

BBC London's Tim Donovan
"It has been a good start to the firefighters' strike in Euston"
BBC London's Tim Donovan
"It is going to be about how the other services cope during the strike"

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25 Oct 02 | England
23 Oct 02 | England
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