rush-hour power cut has caused major disruption on rail and Tube
services in London and the South East.
Some Tube stations were
Power returned to the system at about 1900 BST and the rail and
tube network took several hours before most services resumed normal
Network Rail said about 1,800 trains were affected by the power
cut, caused by a fault with the National Grid.
Train company Connex reported the power went out between London
and Ashford, in Kent.
South London was hardest hit and Transport for London said 60% of
the Tube network was affected.
Stations and trains were evacuated as commuters using the Tube
were plunged into darkness and some were stuck underground as the
power went off at about 1820 BST.
Buses quickly became extremely busy and lines of people waiting
for taxis grew as commuters abandoned packed Tube platforms.
London Fire Brigade took 400 calls and say they rescued about 100
people who were stuck in lifts.
of London Ken Livingstone said at least 250,000 people were affected
and said the situation showed the need for a serious look at the
National Grid and why power went down for so long.
"We've never had this catastrophic failure before and we clearly
can't have it again," he said.
British Transport Police say Tube services have been restored.
Commuter Jane Marriott, 27, was trying to get to Paddington from
Canada Water on the Tube, but ended up taking the bus and walking
part of the way.
She said: "It's absolute chaos, it's very wet which is making
people very miserable.
"A bit of
the Blitz spirit is kicking in and people are talking to each other
which is nice, but we need more cabs and more bus lanes."
Queues grew for buses and
Businesses and homes in Brixton, Battersea and London Bridge were
plunged into darkness and police said 270 sets of traffic lights
St Thomas's Hospital, in south-east London was among those which
had to rely on back-up power generators.
Network Rail spokesman Kevin Groves said the situation was
"unprecedented" as far as he knew.
'Very similar to New York'
The National Grid is investigating the cause of the fault but
spokesman Sean Regan said any loss of power supply was "an unusual
He added: "There was a fault in the 275,000 volt system affecting
a ring around London, which occurred at 1826 BST.
"Power to the distribution network in London was restored at 1900
"Obviously it is going to take the regional distribution network
some time to restore supplies to the end users of their system.
Hopefully it shouldn't be long now."
Civil servant Alan Basford, 52, from Meopham, Kent, added: "This
disruption seems very similar to what happened in New York, and it's
also a bit strange the two events have happened close together."