Source AP ©

About 700 passengers evacuated after subway train derailment in London

A subway train derailed in east London during rush hour Thursday. Thirty-seven people suffered minor injuries in the accident, which police said was not terror-related.

About 700 passengers - many of them covered in dust that was thrown up in the underground tunnels after the accident - were evacuated after the Central Line train derailed at 9:04 a.m. (0804 GMT) between the Bethnal Green and Mile End stations, British Transport Police said.

Paramedics treated 37 patients for minor injuries on the scene, 11 of whom were taken to the hospital, the London Ambulance Service said in a statement.

Passenger Jacqui McElroy, 34, said the train seemed to lift up as it rounded a corner at Bethnal Green. She said the experience was surreal.

"Obviously the first thing that goes through your mind is "Is it terrorists?"'

The accident was reportedly caused by an obstruction on the tracks, according to Transport for London.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union, said in a statement that subway workers had repeatedly raised safety concerns to transport authorities that contractors working in the area where the derailment occurred were not properly storing equipment.

The train remained upright throughout the incident, police said. Britain's Press Association reported six cars were believed to have gone off the track.

Emergency workers finished evacuating passengers from the derailed train and the one stuck behind it by 11 a.m. (1000GMT), Transport for London said in a statement, adding that neither train was full.

Passengers walked out of the tunnel through the shortest route to either Mile End or Bethnal Green subway station, police said.

A large section of the Central Line was suspended.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch was investigating the derailment.

There were 21 derailments on the system in the year ending March 31, but none of those trains was in passenger service, according to Transport for London.

British authorities are on high vigilance before the anniversary of the suicide bombings in London that killed 52 people on London's subway and on a bus, July 7, 2005.

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