March 12 2014 Latest news:
by Stephen Moore
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Hundreds of commuters spent up to an hour queuing outside Finsbury Park station this morning as the 48-hour Tube strike began to bite.
Despite assurances by Transport for London that Victoria line trains would be accessible from the Underground station from 7am, it was nearly 7.45am before the gates were prised open, leaving people to endure long queues or try their luck getting on overcrowded buses.
Despite the queues there were no outward signs of frustration or anger beyond people muttering under their breath or into their phones, the crowds even shuffling dutifully into the station when the gates were opened.
Some vented their frustration at the strike on Twitter. Financial services worker David Sooby said he had been waiting for an hour at Finsbury Park, while sales director Neil Ryland tweeted: “@RMTunion stuck at finsbury park thanks to your actions! #nosupport.”
Working mum Tamara, who had to resort to buses as the Piccadilly line was almost completely shut down, said: “On a bus, stuck in Wood Green, traffic not moving. I still have miles to go... feeling total rage at stupid striking Tube staff.”
One of the dozen or so union members on the picket line, wearing a neon yellow RMT bib, told the waiting crowd: “You think this is inconvenient, wait until they shut all those ticket offices.”
The chaos also spread to the Overground, with commuter Joseph Purfield (@josephpurfield) tweeting: “Never seen Crouch Hill station so full before. Not have I ever seen hired security on an overground before. You win tube strike, you win!”
The congestion at Finsbury Park peaked at around 7am with hundreds of people flooding into the concourse outside the station from the trains, adding to queues for buses and the crowd waiting behind the gate.
By 8.10am the queues for the Tube had dispersed and Victoria line trains were arriving at least half-empty, with services extended all the way to Brixton rather than Victoria.
Only one of the station’s three entrances were opened to the public, in Station Place, while members of the RMT and TSSA took refuge at a lightly-manned picket outside the closed entrance in Wells Terrace.