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BLAST ON TRAIN TRACKS DISRUPTS RAIL SERVICE IN LONDON; NO ONE INJURED

A small bomb exploded along tracks near a south London train station during Tuesday morning's rush hour. No injuries were reported but the blast caused major disruptions in rail and subway service.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.The Irish Republican Army recently has attacked railway stations in London, saying it intended to make Northern Ireland an important issue in the national election. Prime Minister John Major is expected to announce the date of the election this week.

British Rail received a telephone warning 30 minutes before the bombing at the Wandsworth Common Station, giving officials time to halt train service and evacuate the station. Police would not provide details of the phone call.

Rail and subway services were suspended on several lines around the capital.

The explosion destroyed signals, which slowed trains southwest of the capital and at Victoria Station. All services were halted at the Liverpool and Piccadilly stations for several hours following hoax bomb warnings, which police declined to detail.

Len Rees, a police inspector, said the small bomb exploded shortly after 7 a.m. along tracks about 500 yards north of the Wandsworth Common Station.

The device apparently was planted in a signal box near a footbridge and caused "some track side damage," Rees said.

After planting a bomb Feb. 28 at London Bridge rail station that injured 28 people, the IRA said: "These attacks signal our determination and resolve to focus the British government's attention on their war in Ireland. As they face into a general election, our volunteers will continue to force their occupation of any part of our country onto the British political agenda."

The IRA also disrupted London rail service with bombings on Dec. 16, Dec. 23 and Jan. 30. No one was hurt in those blasts, but a year ago an IRA bomb killed a commuter at Victoria Station.