A fire alert at Bond Street station left commuters' journeys in tatters today as the Jubilee Line was struck with severe delays and left part suspended for most of the morning.
There was no service on the Jubilee Line between Finchley Road and Waterloo this morning following reports of smoke at Bond Street, which were later revealed to have been caused by a mechanical failure.
Meanwhile almost 60 passengers stuck on Jubilee Line trains had to be rescued and walked back to Bond Street.
As engineers and emergency services attempted to fix the problem, the rest of the Jubilee line was left suffering severe delays until around 11am.
By 9am the delays had had a knock-on effect on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) as City workers tried to reach Canary Wharf.
The DLR was hit with severe delays from Canary Wharf to Bank and Poplar stations “due to crowding caused by disruption on the Jubilee Line”.
Emergency services were called to Bond Street and Baker Street stations at around 6am after reports of smoke in the Tube tunnel.
Firefighters blamed a “mechanical failure” for the fire, which they had dealt with by 7.20am after 25 firefighters attended the scene.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “Firefighters were called to reports of smoke on a tube train between Bond Street and Baker Street stations this morning.
“The smoke is believed to have been caused by a mechanical failure.
“Crews evacuated 59 people from the tube train via the tunnel. Four people were treated at the scene for shortness of breath by London Ambulance Service crews.
“The Brigade was called at 05.54am and the incident was over for firefighters at 07.18am. Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters from Soho, Paddington and North Kensington fire stations attended the scene.”
TfL urged passengers to skip the Tube line altogether, saying: “Please avoid the Jubilee line and use other routes if possible.”
It told commuters their tickets would be valid on London buses, Southeastern rail services, Thameslink and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).
“We still have no service Finchley Road-Waterloo & severe delays on the rest of the line, while we fix a track fault at Bond Street. Please make alternate journeys where possible & avoid Canada Water station which will be very busy. We'll keep you updated,” it tweeted this morning.
Only at 11am did it signal only minor delays were occurring.
“We’re now running with minor delays, due to an earlier track fault at Bond Street. We're sorry for the disruption, & we'll keep you updated of any changes,” TfL said.
Central Line trains did not stop at Bond Street due to station staff trying to resolve the incident, TfL told passengers.
Meanwhile one London worker Charlotte Davis posted a picture appearing to show the smoke from the station from her office window.
Commuters vented their frustration at the delays online.
Twitter user Tony Ferrino called it “chaos”, while others expressed confusion over simultaneous reports of the fire alert and TfL’s explanation of a track fault.
A TfL spokesperson said: “We apologise to customers on the train for any distress this incident may have caused and for the disruption to customer journeys this morning. Engineers are currently on site at Bond Street to fix the issue and we hope to resume services as soon as possible.”
London Bridge station temporarily closed to some commuters as TfL made it exit-only to prevent overcrowding, with crowd control measures in place, before reopening at 9am.
TfL warned commuters set on getting the Jubilee Line that they faced waits of 20 minutes for a train as severe delays continued to affect the Underground line at 9am.
On Twitter TfL urged commuters to switch to the Metropolitan Line at Finchley Road to continue with their journeys.
TfL was forced to apologise to dozens of fuming passengers on Twitter, telling one: "Sorry that we've let you down this morning, I can appreciate how frustrating that this is. We're working hard to the restore the service."
By late morning, with only minor delays affecting the Jubilee Line, commuters began to make light of the disruption.
Twitter user Amy Leigh-Matthews tweeted: "The packed jubilee line this morning did nothing for my OCD of skin to skin contact with strangers of the tube!"
— Amy Leigh-Matthews (@AmyLeighActress) May 23, 2019
However, Rachel Davies witnessed someone trying to drown their sorrows at the delay rather early in the day.
London is so fucked. The train tannoy announced that there was suspended service on the Jubilee Line and a guy first sighed and then proceeded to crack open up a can of JD and coke!? It was 9:03
— Rachel Davies (@rachelxdavies_) May 23, 2019
As the Jubilee Line problems ended, severe delays hit two other Tube lines.
The Bakerloo Line and the Northern Line both suffered severe delays.
A High Barnet signal failure led to severe delays between High Barnet and Camden Town while severe delays struck Bakerloo passengers between Queen's Park and Elephant & Castle due to "emergency engineering work" following a track problem at Queen's Park.
The Jubilee Line is the third busiest line on the Tube, but was one of the best Underground lines for getting to your destination on time, suffering only 88 days with delays in 2017 – the second lowest number.
That compared to the District Line's 244 days, making it the worst offender, and the Piccadilly Line's 202 days.
In 2018 the Jubilee Line only had 64 instances in which it had delays of 15 minutes or more, the third lowest, compared to the District Line's 198 incidents.