London News & Search
Commuters suffered a day of travel mayhem on London’s railways on the day it was revealed passengers are to be hit by the biggest fare hike in five years.
Scores of rush hour commuters were hit by lengthy delays after a train derailed and struck a freight train outside Waterloo station on Tuesday morning.
Two people were also injured when a train crashed into buffers at King’s Cross station, with London’s Underground already suffering severe delays due to a signal problem on the Circle line at Farringdon.
The chaotic scenes on London’s railways came as independent figures revealed rail fares will rise by 3.6 per cent when price changes come into force in the New Year.
The price hikes, which were calculated by the Office for National Statistics using the Retail Price Index measure of inflation, are set to add hundreds of pounds to the cost of season tickets.
The revelation is expected to spark protests among frustrated commuters, with unions warning that passengers are paying “more for less”.
Furious commuters have already complained of a summer of chaotic commutes into central London due to a multi-million pound upgrade at Waterloo station.
Half of the station has been closed until the end of August, with customers complaining crowds have left the station “absolutely suffocating”.
Londoners have been advised to avoid Waterloo throughout Tuesday, with a South West Trains service derailing just outside the station at about 5.40am.
Paramedics treated three people at the scene, but they were not taken to hospital.
Dramatic pictures have emerged of the train teetering onto the side of the freight train and an investigation has been launched. Network Rail has warned the disruption could last until Wednesday.
Holborn station was also evacuated after an overheated compressor on a Central Line tube carriage caused smoke to fill the platform.
Witnesses described commuters “screaming” after hearing a loud bang as the station was plunged into a state of panic during the evacuation.
A dramatic video emerged of commuters hurriedly leaving the station while smoke billowed from the faulty carriage.
Al Gwatkin, 43, from Chelsea, was getting off the Piccadilly line to transfer on to the Central line at Holborn when the incident happened.
He said: “All of a sudden everyone came running out saying ‘they’ve evacuated the station’.
“You don’t know if it’s terrorist-related. You’re just like ‘oh my God, get out of here’. There was panic down there. People were screaming.”
Holborn station has since reopened.
Two people also suffered minor injuries after a train hit the buffers at London’s King’s Cross station at about 6.20am on Tuesday.
A spokesman for Network Rail said there was a “slow speed buffer collision” and the crash was “very minor”, with no expected disruption to services.
But commuters on London’s Tube network were again struck by heavy delays, with the Circle line completely suspended due to a signal failure on Tuesday morning.
Rail unions have complained that while fares rise, rail engineering work is being delayed or cancelled, skilled jobs are being lost and staff are being cut.
On Monday, the RMT union unveiled figures showing rail fares have risen by around 32 per cent in eight years.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan blasted the “sky-high” hike, saying “it beggars belief” that commuters are to be hit by another hike.
Sarah Collins, 35, a City Worker from East Putney, said that rising prices and lack of services is leading him to move to New Zealand.
She told the Standard: “It is bad people can’t afford to travel to work. The cost of living in London is huge. That’s why I’m moving back to New Zealand.
“It is unreasonable that the cost of fares have risen twice as much. There should be more trains for the amount people are paying.”
Deepa Bahti, 22, a City worker from Reading, said: “It is really bad that it’s gone up twice as much since 2010. We shouldn’t have to pay as much as we do, the service is rubbish.
“The amount of times I have gone to Paddington and all the trains have been cancelled is ridiculous. There have been times when I’ve gotten home as late as 10pm. I wouldn’t mind paying that much if there was good service.”
London News & Search