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Rail inspectors launch inquiry into London Bridge crush as commuters protest on social media

Crowd control at ticket barriers on London Transport system. Image: Katie Rogers for LondonMMNews

Crowd control at ticket barriers on London Transport system. Image: Katie Rogers for LondonMMNews

Rail inspectors have launched an inquiry into the crush conditions at London Bridge station on Tuesday as commuters protest on social media about the growing sense of delays and over-crowding throughout the capital’s transport system.

Travellers complained about the crowd control outside Oxford Circus underground last night that kept up to a thousand people queuing on the pavement approaches to the station.

Mayor for London Boris Johnson and MPs demanded that Network Rail- responsible for the rebuilding of London Bridge- sort out the growing problem of over-crowding during rush hours.

The London Evening Standard asked Transport for London to explain the crush at Oxford Circus last night and operations director Peter McNaught said:

Due to the vast crowds that often visit the West End we sometimes have to temporarily close the station to ensure customer safety and prevent overcrowding on the platforms. Sorry to those who got caught up or delayed.

Overcrowding at London Bridge became so pressured and intense some  commuters ignored the crowd control measures and were recorded on smartphones crawling under the ticket gates or jumping  over them.

The Office of Rail Regulation says inspectors from its Safety Directorate will be assessing whether the London Bridge problems pose a safety risk to passengers and staff.

The ORR told Railnews:

We are monitoring London Bridge on two levels at the moment. One is part of the continuing, routine supervision of Network Rail, which is a major part of our responsibilities as the rail regulator. But railway inspectors have also been brought in to consider whether health and safety is being compromised.

The General Secrectary of the railway workers union RMT, Mick Cash, described the situation as ‘life-threatening chaos:’

The bottom line is that we are trying to  cram more and more passengers into a transport system which is already at bursting point and where the pressure is on to cut more corners and axe more staff in the drive for profit. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that that the poisonous cocktail of surging demand against a background of cuts leads to the kind of horrendous meltdown played out at London Bridge…

RMT is demanding action before this chaos becomes a tragedy.

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