UK & World News
London Underground Staff Stage 48-Hour Strike
Tens of thousands of people endured another challenging commute as a strike by London Underground workers brought parts of the network to a halt.
Talks aimed at resolving the dispute will be held on Friday, but the crippling strike will continue until Thursday evening.
Tube services will again be disrupted on Thursday because of a walkout by members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) and TSSA unions in protest at the closure of ticket offices.
The 48-hour walkout will end at 9pm, with another strike planned for next week unless the deadlock is broken.
Unions have been calling on London Mayor Boris Johnson to meet them to discuss the closures, which will see the loss of 950 jobs.
But the mayor had refused to meet unless they called off the industrial action.
The strike action is expected to cost the UK economy around £50m.
There was no service on the Waterloo and City or Circle lines and a number of stations are closed, forcing passengers to use to alternative routes.
Some morning train services took twice as long as normal, while at Clapham Junction, the country's busiest railway station, one passenger head-butted another after failing to get on a busy train.
Roads were much busier than usual, as a surge of cyclists and drivers clogged major routes into the city, and there were long queues for buses, despite an extra 100 vehicles being put into service.
David Cameron described the strike as "shameful", telling MPs at Prime Minister's Questions: "The fact is only 3% of transactions now involve ticket offices, so it makes sense to have fewer people in those offices but more people on the platforms and the stations."
Earlier, Transport for London said services were running on seven out of 11 lines, although the unions claimed 70% of the service was at a standstill.
The conciliation service Acas said in a brief statement: "The parties in the London Underground dispute have agreed to come in and continue exploratory talks at Acas this Friday, February 7."
RMT leader Bob Crow said: "Our negotiators are geared up and ready to enter the exploratory talks on Friday.
"In the meantime the current action continues with the rock solid support of our members and we will be back out on the picket lines early tomorrow morning as the strike heads into its third day."
A second 48-hour stoppage is due to be held on February 11.
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