Engineers working on the London Underground had to make a dash for sugar from nearby supermarkets following an accidental concrete spill in the signalling room of one of the tube’s busiest stations.
Engineers accidentally poured concrete all over signalling equipment critical to the functioning of the London Underground last week, causing major delays during rush hour for thousands of commuters hoping to travel along one of the busiest segments of the tube system.
Train services were suspended from 1.30 pm on the day of the incident, affecting Victoria and Oxford Circus stations on the Victoria line, and causing massive convenience for commuters throughout much of central London.
While Transport for London initially informed the public via Twitter that “flooding” at Victoria station was behind the malfunction, photos placed on the popular image-sharing site UsVsTh3m by an anonymous worker clearly showed that racks of signalling equipment had been submerged in quick drying concrete.
“The civil engineering team has poured fast-setting concrete into the Victoria Line signalling equipment room and shut everything down,” wrote the photo contributor in a caption, adding that an estimated 3 rows of relay equipment had already been submerged.
A source subsequently revealed to the London Evening Standard that a team of civil engineers working on a 700 million pound upgrade of Victoria Station were responsible for the debilitating blunder.
The engineers were pumping concrete into an excavated hollow for the construction of an escalator tunnel extending to a new platform, when the building material leaked into the control room via a hole or crack, affecting equipment which controls trains along the entire southern half of the line.
The source said that in order to deal with the sticky contingency contractors rushed to supermarkets to grab bags of sugar, which they poured into the concrete to slow down its setting.
Services on the Victoria line from Brixton to Warren Street were suspended over night as contractors made haste to repair the damage prior to the start of commuter traffic the following morning.
Transport for London has since come under fire for releasing misleading information to the public, by not specifying the nature of the “flood” which had caused the delays, and implying that it was a weather disaster instead of a man-made blunder.