An hour before the Tube strike was even due to start one of London's busiest stations was forced to close.
Workers started their journeys home early on Wednesday evening in a bid to avoid the mayhem was expected to ensure when staff walked out at 6.30pm, halting Underground services across the city.
But more than an hour before the strike was due to begin Oxford Circus pulled down its shutters due to the congestion.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) described the night Tube as a "vanity project" of Mayor Boris Johnson, claiming it was "fundamentally flawed from top to bottom".
Members of the RMT and three other unions will stage a 24-hour strike from Wednesday evening, bringing the underground network to a standstill until Friday morning.
Chaotic scenes of commuters trying to rush home before the impending walk out were seen across the capital.
Talks aimed at resolving the row ended on Monday and are not due to resume until next week at the earliest. Unions could announce fresh walkouts if the deadlock is not broken.