London

'Potential for injuries' in Tube evacuation

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Media caption'Potential for injuries' in Tube evacuation

Tube passengers could have been injured during an evacuation at Holland Park station over the August bank holiday weekend, an investigation has ruled.

An interim report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) found that passengers were trapped for four minutes.

The Central Line train was held at Holland Park station after the train began to fill with smoke.

No-one was hurt but the RAIB said there was "potential for injuries to occur".

Smoke and fumes

The incident took place on Sunday 25 August, when the station was busier than usual because of the Notting Hill Carnival.

Holland Park station lies between Notting Hill and Shepherd's Bush stations.

Shortly after the train departed at 18:35 BST, a passenger operated the emergency alarm, causing the emergency brakes to be applied, the RAIB said.

The train stopped with the first half of the car in the tunnel. Other emergency alarms were operated within the train soon afterwards.

The train driver was unaware that a fault with the brakes on one car was generating smoke and fumes, the report found.

The RAIB's report added: "London Underground has also indicated that the train may have suffered an electrical fault."

'Risking lives'

A small number of passengers were able to exit the train using the doors in between the carriages. The main doors remained closed, trapping scores of people, the report said.

One passenger said she thought she was going to die. Passenger Mica Pocock, from Uxbridge, said people panicked as no-one told them what was happening.

"Men were trying to prise the doors open, but nothing worked. People were climbing out of the doors - they were risking lives as they could have fallen on tracks," said Ms Pocock.

A video posted online showed passengers desperately trying to get off the train.

The RAIB said: "Nobody was injured in the incident, but the RAIB considers that there was potential for injuries to occur because the train was heavily loaded and a large number of people were prevented from leaving the train for almost four minutes after it stopped."

Peter McNaught, London Underground's Operations Director, said: "London Underground has an excellent and continually improving safety record and such incidents on the Tube are very rare.

"We apologised fully to our customers, worked hard to resume services as soon as possible and our staff were on hand on the platform to assist those who were leaving the train."

The station was closed for 30 minutes while the fire brigade investigated the smoke.

RAIB investigations are ongoing.

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