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London tube strike brings second day of chaos

world Updated: Jun 11, 2009 13:52 IST
Tim Castle
Tim Castle
Reuters
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London commuters endured further transport chaos on Thursday as a 48-hour strike disrupted services across much of the capital's underground rail network.

There were long queues for buses and lengthy tailbacks on main road routes as travellers sought alternative ways to work.

Transport chiefs said services were running on more than half of all London Underground lines, including a good service on the Northern Line.

But four lines were completely suspended, with only a partial service on five other lines.

London Underground drivers, station staff and maintenance workers walked out at 7 pm on Tuesday in support of industrial action called by the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union over pay and jobs.

They are not due to return till 7 pm on Thursday, although services will not return to normal till Friday morning.

The dispute hit attendance at England's 6-0 World Cup qualifier victory against Andorra at Wembley in northwest London on Wednesday evening, where the 58,000 fans watching were well short of the 70,000 tickets available.

The RMT said it had been close to agreeing a suspension of the strike minutes before it was due to start and has accused politicians at London's City Hall of scuppering the deal.

Transport chiefs said support for the strike was below the RMT's expectations.

To ease congestion transport authorities have arranged taxi-sharing at major rail termini and laid on free river services and guided commuter cycle routes.

The 250-mile underground network normally runs over 500 trains at peak hours and carries some 3.5 million passengers a day.

Docklands Light Railway and London Overground services were operating normally.