The Central Line platforms at Bank Tube station were yesterday closed for 90 minutes during the rush hour following "complaints that decibel levels from screeching rails were too high", the Evening Standard reports.
City lawyer John Cooper told the paper: "We were all thrown out of the station. A member of staff told me it was because the decibel levels were too high. It was complete madness. Thousands of people were stuck and it was utter confusion. Some people were just laughing when the staff told them what was going on. It is health and safety gone mad."
Transport for London said the emergency closure, at 5.30pm, was prompted by "a lack of lubrication on the tracks". A spokesman explained: "We closed the platforms because passengers were reporting that they could hear a loud screeching sound.
"It does happen from time to time. You have metal rails running on metal tracks and they need lubrication. It would have been better to solve the problem before rush hour but our emergency team were on the scene quickly and were able to get the line running again."
This explanation is unlikely to impress Steve Cooper, who was trying to get home to Basildon when the emergency lube squad rushed to the scene. He said: "Someone came over the Tannoy and said the Central line was being closed due to squeaky tracks. How bad can it possibly be to disrupt thousands of people on their way home during rush hour? The noise is noticeable at Bank, but you couldn't call it unbearable. It's more of an irritant, really."
He concluded: "Why didn't they just leave it another hour or so and avoid all that chaos? After a hard day at work all you want to do is get home." ®