Central Line Tube strike: Furious commuters battle enormous queues at Ilford and Liverpool Street station

Furious commuters were forced to battle huge queues at busy London transport hubs as a Tube strike shutdown the Central and Waterloo & City lines.

Shocking pictures show hundreds of commuters facing travel chaos at stations including Liverpool Street and Ilford station as they tried to find alternative routes to work.

Passengers were facing packed trains and queues outside stations after RMT and Aslef members on the Central and Waterloo and City lines launched a 24-hour strike at midnight.

One picture showed chaotic scenes in Ilford where scores of commuters lined the streets in the rain outside the station.

Passengers said that it was a huge struggle to board trains at the north London station.

One commuter tweeted: “Tfl get your act in order it’s a hazard!! No staff outside controlling the congestion.”

A spokesma for Transport for London apologised for the queues outside Ilford station and urged customers to use local bus services into the city during the strike.

It said: “Customers at Ilford station – we apologise for the queues that are currently in place at the station. This is owing to services being extremely busy due to the Central line strike.

“Where possible, we encourage customers to use local bus services into London.”

Londoners have had to brave the rain as they queued for buses this morning, with one commuter claiming her journey to work took “two and a half hours of hell on packed buses”.

Another picture taken in Waterloo shows the busy station packed full of commuters, who one person said were “resigned to being late due to the Central line strike”.

Posting a picture of the madness at Waterloo, Stephen Hines said: “The queue hasn’t moved for 30 minutes.”

“13 separate Transport for London and National Rail services in London reporting disruption this morning. Utter shambles,” another commuter affected by the delays wrote.

RMT and Aslef members on the Central line and Waterloo and City line launched the strike after TfL’s last-ditch talks to call off the strike failed.

The union had been demanding the reinstatement of the two drivers, while also making accusations of “abuse of procedures” and suggestions that industrial relations have reached “breaking point”.

Major transport hubs including Liverpool Street, Stratford station and Oxford Circus are extremely busy.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash has said members remain “rock solid” during strike action.

He said: “RMT members are standing absolutely rock solid and united the length of the Central Line this morning as they send out the clearest possible signal that they will not be bullied into accepting a wholesale undermining of workplace justice and rights.

“Industrial relations along the Central Line have been at breaking point for some time now and the failure of the management to address the issues, and a conscious decision to up the ante by attempting to single out and pick off individual members of staff, has tipped the situation over the edge and has led to the strike action today.

Mr Cash added: “The union is angry and frustrated that the management side have squandered a golden opportunity over the past week to resolve the issues at the heart of the dispute through the talks process.

“Today’s action is the clearest possible demonstration to tube bosses of the level of anger on the job and it’s down to them to take the to take the situation seriously and engage in genuine talks around reaching a solution to the current disputes.”

Nigel Holness, managing director of London Underground, had blasted the “totally unjustifiable” action.

He said: “Both are demanding the reinstatement of drivers sacked over serious safety breaches – one who deliberately opened the doors of a train in a tunnel, and one who failed a drugs test.

“We always strive to run a reliable service for our customers but our commitment to the safety of both customers and staff is absolute and something we will never compromise on.”

TfL said it would be providing an extra 150 buses on Wednesday.