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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 13:26 GMT
Tube crash tapes highlight warnings
Damaged train
Carriages hit the platform as the train derailed
Recorded conversations between drivers and line controllers 30 minutes before a London Underground train derailed, detail warnings that it was faulty.

The accident at Chancery Lane in central London on 25 January has meant the Central Line is likely to be closed at least until the end of March.

Transcripts of the recordings show the train derailed minutes before it was due to be taken out of service.

Initial investigations suggest a motor under the fifth carriage sheared away from securing bolts, hitting the track and de-railing the train.

It sounds like something's really hanging off underneath

Tube driver
Tapes obtained by London's Evening Standard confirm the first warning came at 1326 GMT at Leytonstone station - nine stops before Chancery Lane.

A driver travelling in the opposite direction told a controller: "It sounds like something's really hanging off underneath."

A staff member was asked to travel on the train for a short time but did not hear anything wrong.

At 1334 GMT driver Steven Cusick said he would continue, and staff at Liverpool Street were asked to report any strange noises.

Broken glass on Tube train
32 passengers were taken to hospital after the crash

Ten minutes later, a driver on a following train reported Bethnal Green and Liverpool Street stations were "really dusty and murky".

The controller reports "there might be a problem with the train in front" and the driver replied "it ain't half kicking up a lot of dust".

At 1345 GMT the decision was made to take the train out of service at Holborn, where there is a siding.

But at 1353 GMT the train derailed at Chancery Lane, one stop before Holborn.

London Underground (LU) teams and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating the derailment.

We very much regret that the Waterloo and City service will not be able to resume on Thursday evening as we had hoped

LU spokeswoman

In a statement, LU said: "They will be looking at all the contributing factors, including the design and condition of the rolling stock and the decisions taken by London Underground staff.

"This includes a full examination of the sequence of events leading up to the de-railment".

The closure of the Central Line and the Waterloo and City Line, which uses the same rolling stock, has affected an estimated 600,000 passengers a day.

Shuttle service

On Wednesday LU managers delayed the re-opening of the Waterloo and City Line, one day before services were due to resume.

No new date has been given and LU is also revising its timetable for starting a limited shuttle service on parts of the Central Line.

A spokeswoman said: "Teams are working round the clock to resolve the problem quickly and safely, but it is taking longer than we originally thought."

She added: "We will only put the service back when it's 100% safe to do so."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC London's Paul Curran
"Today we have learned much more about the run-up to the crash."
See also:

05 Feb 03 | England
29 Jan 03 | England
28 Jan 03 | England
27 Jan 03 | England
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