NEWS
23/01/2018 07:11 GMT | Updated 23/01/2018 12:56 GMT

Charing Cross Gas Leak Causes Travel Chaos And Massive Evacuation

The Strand is closed entirely.

  • Gas main in the Strand ruptures
  • 1,450 people evacuated from Heaven nightclub and nearby hotels
  • A cordon around the Strand has now been lifted
  • Charing Cross and Waterloo East stations have reopened but disruption to services is expected until 15:00
  • No injuries have been reported

Two major railway stations were closed and 1,450 people were evacuated after a gas main ruptured in central London.

Heaven nightclub was cleared and guests at a nearby hotel were moved into emergency accommodation after the alarm was raised in the Strand at around 2am on Tuesday.

Charing Cross and Waterloo East stations were shut, with services diverted into Victoria, Cannon Street and Blackfriars.

Both were reopened around 11:30.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said it was called to the scene at after high levels of natural gas were detected at the scene in Craven Street near Charing Cross station, reports the Press Association

PA Wire/PA Images
The cordon around the Strand has been lifted.

Charing Cross is London’s fifth busiest station, used by about 42 million passengers a year.

The Strand, a major route through central London, was closed and a 165-yard (150m) cordon put in place while National Grid engineers tried to isolate the leak.

It has now been lifted.

Charing Cross and Waterloo East stations are currently closed and commuters are advised to find alternative routes.

Westminster City Council said a respite centre was opened at the Queen Mother Sports Centre in Victoria.

An LFB spokesman said: “We are assisting police on the Strand after a ruptured gas main was discovered using detection equipment and high levels of natural gas were detected in the atmosphere.

“As a precaution, approximately 1,450 people have been evacuated. They are from a hotel and a night club.

“The Strand is completely closed and we are asking people to avoid the area.

“We do not know the cause of the gas leak at this stage. It is ongoing and engineers are down at the scene trying to isolate the leak. There are still high readings of natural gas in the area.

“We are working to sort it out as quickly as possible.”

Revellers at the Heaven nightclub described trying to leave “as fast as possible”

Another, Chloe-Mai, said: “Lots of people trying to leave at the same time. as soon as the word evacuation was heard from security staff everyone was trying to get out as fast as possible.”

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “Charing Cross station is currently closed owing to a gas leak in a nearby road.

“We will reopen the station as soon as we have clearance from emergency services that it is safe to do so. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused.”