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Old August 17th 03, 11:41 AM posted to
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Default Five Day closure of Central Line (was surprised)

In article , Andrew wrote:
I remember the incident although am hazy about the dates. If I can find
some old documents relating to purchasing my home in London I may be able to
pinpoint the exact date. Sounds bizarre, but I remember that it happened
the day I collected the keys, hence making an unusual journey from Wapping
to Walthamstow and then to Leyton, and then trying to get into central
London to work. I remember hearing an announcement at Stratford station
saying there was no service on any underground line.

Likewise, I can't remember the exact date, but I do remember it covered a
complete weekend, and occurred before November 1994. (I think it was from a
Thursday afternoon to the following Monday afternoon).
The company I worked for had a rail replacement job between Loughton and
Epping that weekend, and we had to completely rewrite the schedules (on the
Friday afternoon) to extend it from Loughton to Woodford, then non stop to
I ended up working from 1400 on the Friday to 0130 Sunday, then 1430 Sunday
until 1200 Monday.

Thomas Covenant
Please reply to

Sun, 17 Aug 2003 11:30 +0100

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Old August 18th 03, 09:35 AM posted to
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Default Five Day closure of Central Line (was surprised)

It was on 23 Nov 1993, and the details are listed on the site below,
about a third of the way down the page. It seems the Central Line was
affected until 30 Nov, a total af almost 7 days


I *told* Clive he should have kept those Underground News back issues.

In the January 1994 issue, three items from the Daily Telegraph are

| [Thu] 25.11.93 - The biggest power failure and evacuation in LT's
| history occurred yesterday. More than 20,000 commuters had to be
| rescued from stranded trains trapped in tunnels when power failed
| at 07.10 on the eastern sections of the Central, Circle, District,
| Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and East London Lines; the back-up
| supply failed 20 minutes later. Services were restored to all lines
| except part of the Central, by mid-afternoon, when LT engineers
| traced the failure to a cable fault near Newbury Park station.
| However, as the evening peak was building up, power failed again
| stranding six trains between Leytonstone and Stratford. As a result
| LUL has cancelled services east of Liverpool Street today.

| [Fri] 26.11.93 - The Central Line east of Liverpool Street will
| again be shut this morning because of random electrical short-
| circuiting. Electricians are examining cabling up to 70 years old
| to trace the problem; they spent Tuesday night replacing worn
| equipment on the Hainault loop. The earlier failure which stranded
| 29 trains in tunnels for up to three hours was caused by burn-outs
| elsewhere; two damaged 22,000 volt cables at Mile End and a back-up
| supply have been fixed only for the system to fail again. LUL has
| warned that because of the intermittent failures the problem is
| difficult to trace and part of the Central Line may remain closed
| until Monday.

| [Tue] 30.11.93 - Central Line services should be normal today after
| a "sleuthing" exercise traced the main electrical fault to 56-year-
| old burned cabling at Lots Road power station; random failures
| lasting up to 7 hours accounted for most of the week-long period
| of delays for travellers. Prof. Brian Mellitt, LUL Engineering
| Director, has said that at least 35% of the power cabling should
| have been replaced 15 years ago. LUL estimates that the failures
| cost 2 million in lost revenue, compensation claims, and paying
| for 24-hour engineering work.

In the February 1994 issue there is summarized a Times article, also
dated Tuesday, November 30, 1993:

The Government has admitted that the Tube network is under-funded,
in the aftermath of a week of electrical problems which is expected
to cost about 2 million. Steven Norris, the junior minister, said
the Government was spending record amounts on the railway but agreed
it was still not enough. After the power was restored, re-opening
of the Central Line between Gants Hill and Redbridge was further
delayed by flooding because the pumps were not working during the
power failure. The article features a picture of the offending
burnt-out cable.

Finally, in the March 1994 issue is a Quality of Service Sub-Committee
report, this too dated Tuesday, November 30, 1993. It gives the fol-
lowing explanation and chronology:

# The series of failures which started on 23.11.93 was still subject
# to investigation, and LUL could only give a provisional explanation.
# Problems had arisen from three faults which occurred concurrently -
# (a) a transformer failure at Newbury Park, (b) a cable failure
# between Mile End and Greenwich, which had not yet been located
# exactly, and (c) a fault in an earthing cable at Lots Road. The
# sequence of events had been:

# Tuesday 23rd November - A transient supply failure occurred in the
# evening, but services had been restarted after a relatively short
# delay. A temporary supply was switched in.

# Wednesday 24th November - In the morning, the main supply failed,
# but the temporary supply failed too. A major power failure immob-
# ilised much of the Central Line and all the sub-surface parts of
# the system simultaneously. 20,000 passengers were evacuated from
# trains stalled between stations, and as many as 300,000 were af-
# fected in all (12% of daily users). An earth fault occurred at
# Newbury Park, which damaged cabling at Lots Road. Tripping the
# earth fault de- tector at Mile End switch house caused the entire
# switchboard to cut out. The supplies to the other sections were
# isolated and restored, and attention was concentrated on finding
# the fault in the 98km of cable supplying the Central Line.

# Thursday 25th November - Power was restored in the late evening.

# Friday 26th November - Central Line power failed again. The defect-
# ive cable at Lots Road was located 25ft. above ground. Tracing the
# fault had been immensely time-consuming, and 17 gangs were needed
# to make checks and tests. Bus shuttle services were operated over
# the trainless sections of the Central Line.

# Tuesday 30th November - Services were restored on the Central Line
# east of Stratford. No absolute guarantee could be given that some-
# thing similar would not happen again. The Central Line modernis-
# ation project included renewal of the cables serving the line
# itself, substations and switchgear. Work on the western half was
# complete, and the rest was due to be commissioned in July 1994.
# However, work on the Mile End feeder point, and the Northern Line
# power supply (which was as old as the Central Line's) did not rank
# high enough to be funded in the foreseeable future...
Mark Brader | "If one were to believe the bulk of our mail, one
Toronto | would conclude that about every part of our anatomy
| (even those we don't possess) is the wrong size..." --LWN

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