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Seven injured as second London train derails
( 2003-10-20 09:58) (Agencies)

Seven people were injured on Sunday when a London underground train derailed and slammed into a tunnel wall in the network's second accident in 48 hours.

Rail unions and London's mayor said the accident raised serious questions about safety on the network, which saw another derailment on one of its busiest lines on Friday.

A London Underground spokesman said one passenger broke a leg and six others suffered minor injuries after part of the train jumped the tracks and careered into a wall.

Emergency crews led 230 passengers, including 70 from the derailed train, to safety from the deep tunnels on the Northern Line, the capital's main north-south route.

"There was one man with bandages on his face and blood streaming down," eyewitness Harry Anscombe told BBC News 24 television.

The accident at Camden Town station brought much of the line to a standstill as police, fire engines and ambulances raced to the scene. The cause of the accident was not known.

The station is one of the capital's busiest on a Sunday as Londoners and tourists flock to the area's popular markets and cafes.

Rail chiefs said the first derailment at Hammersmith station on Friday may have been caused by a broken rail.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone said in a statement that the two accidents raised "grave concerns over the safety of the system".

The RMT rail union said its workers' lives were at risk and that it would consider strikes. "We may have to take action to protect our members," an RMT spokesman said.

London Underground maintenance work is contracted out to two private consortia, Tubelines and Metronet.

The Tubelines consortium includes engineering firm Jarvis Plc, which earlier this month pulled out of mainline railway maintenance after bad publicity following derailments on tracks it repaired.

A spokeswoman for Tubelines, which maintains the line on which Sunday's derailment took place, said routine maintenance was carried out on Saturday night.

Metronet, which maintains the track in the area of Friday's derailment, defended its safety record.

"Our maintenance regime is textbook and in compliance with what is required by the contract," a Metronet spokesman said.

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper said Network Rail, the not-for-profit firm which operates Britain's mainline railways, was considering taking back all maintenance work from the private sector.

In January, at least 32 people were hurt in a derailment at Chancery Lane station on the Central Line.

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