Reacting to news of this morning’s Central Line train derailment between Mile End and Bethnal Green, in the heart of his constituency, Bethnal Green and Bow MP George Galloway said:
“There is, of course, an enormous sense of relief that this very serious incident did not lead to loss of life or serious injury. London Underground staff, fire and ambulance crews, and the police deserve our deep gratitude for the tremendous way they handled the derailment, evacuating trapped passengers calmly and minimising casualties.
“London Underground staff were, naturally, first on the scene and responded magnificently. Not knowing whether a bomb had gone off on the train, they began the swift evacuation of passengers through Mile End station with calm professionalism. They should receive the fullest support from Transport for London.
“This incident should underscore to the government, the Greater London Authority and the management of the emergency services that our transport system and fire and ambulance services require proper levels of staffing. There should be no more talk of running down staffing levels on the Tube or of “reorganising” fire services by cutting appliances – as the GLA did at Bethnal Green station, which was central to the emergency response this morning.
“It is also apparent from initial reports and from RMT union safety reps contacted by my office that this incident is connected to the chaos wrought by the part-privatisation of the Tube under Gordon Brown’s PPP scheme.
“Private contractors employed by the Metronet consortium were working on the track prior to the derailment, which was caused by an object on the line which should have been safely stowed away.
“I join RMT general secretary Bob Crow in calling on Ken Livingstone to immediately bring the contracts to maintain and renew the Tube’s infrastructure back in house. I will be making this points and asking questions of the relevant government ministers this afternoon.”