Commuters in tube strike hold-ups

RAIL passengers leaving Ipswich Station bound for Liverpool Street today were bracing themselves for traffic chaos as all London Underground services were halted.

RAIL passengers leaving Ipswich Station bound for Liverpool Street today were bracing themselves for traffic chaos as all London Underground services were halted.

Thousands of tube workers are staging the strike in a bitter dispute over pay. Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union and Aslef, who are protesting against an imposed three per cent pay rise, mounted picket lines outside tube stations across the capital.

LU said no trains would run for at least the first part of the usually busy morning peak hours.

More than 500 trains normally run in the rush hours but they were all at a complete standstill this morning.


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Mladen Golubovic, of Mount Pleasant, Norwich, said: "I was not aware of the strikes until yesterday. I have to get to Heathrow Airport but I don't know how I am going to do that. I was supposed to be taking a friend there for her flight at 4pm but I think she will have to go on her own now."

David Hughes, of Lloyds Avenue, Ipswich, said: "I am going to Bishopsgate in London, which is only 200 yards away from Liverpool Street station, so I should be fine."

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Ian Groves, of Broughton Road, Ipswich, said: "I am a lecturer at London University and I have got 70 students trying to make their way in so I thought I had better try.

"Last week I found that it was 40 minutes on the bus and 30 minutes to walk, so I will probably be walking. Last week did give me a chance to discover London Buses though. I enjoyed the views!"

Joanna Ashard, of Clopton, Woodbridge, said: "I am going to walk when I get to London because I am going to an office that is near Liverpool Street. I will not be affected that much."

Services ran down shortly after the strike started at 8pm yesterday, although LU said trains on the Bakerloo Line ran normally.

Main line suburban trains were packed from an early hour as commuters found other ways of getting around the strike.

A free Central London boat service, capable of transporting 1,500 people, has been set up to run today, with stops at Embankment, Westminster, Tower, Blackfriars and Waterloo.

Commuters were faced with the prospect of crowded buses and long queues through the morning rush hour and traffic was expected to be heavy.

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