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Monday, July 06, 2009

Person on a Tube Line

If you've ever wanted to find out what happens to people on a London Underground train when there's a person on the line, there's a interesting blog post from
Andrew Jaffe. Yesterday lunchtime, trains weren't stopping at King's Cross station because of a "one under" - horrible phrase, but that's what Tube staff call it.

Andrew said, when the driver were informed of the incident "After a few more minutes he told us that we may have to 'de-train' but that he'd let us know when authorization came. He implied that if the unfortunate victim were still alive it could take up to a couple of hours.

Given those circumstances, we were not too unhappy that things took a while. Eventually, the staff from Caledonian Road station showed up, and started leading us off the train, giving us the unfortunate chance for a rare London experience:


In the Tunnels by Andrew Jaffe In the Tunnels by Andrew Jaffe

After they walked through the tunnel to the next station. Andrew said: "We got loaded onto buses and made it into central London. On the way, I passed Kings X station itself, to find the (Virgin!) Air Ambulance ready to rescue the 'person under the train'"

Virgin Air Ambulance by Andrew Jaffe

"If nothing else, the British (and, I think, even we foreigners who happen to have found ourselves here) tend to be pretty relaxed in a crisis, and so we were. Given that this was on Sunday in July, we were lucky that the train wasn't much hotter and more crowded with people commuting to work, so we could manage to be more amused by the situation than anything else. Damped, to be sure, by the sad circumstances that had caused all of this. But still: blitz spirit, Keep Calm and Carry On, and all that."

There's more pictures from the evacuation on Andrew's Flickr set.

Funnily enough only last week Ianvisits sent me a link to a post about the length of time it takes to re-open roads and railway lines, if there has been a fatality or person on a line.

"Lord Faulkner said the British Transport Police, 'which is primarily responsible for dealing with the sort of incident on the railway to which he refers, has a remarkably good record in getting lines open again.

'It has a target of 90 minutes; last year it exceeded that and achieved a reopening time of 76 minutes, and I am told that it hopes to do better again this year.
"

It's an awful thing having to balance the speed of getting people on their travels again, with the sensitivity of telling people what's being going on. I'm pleased that Andrew said in this case, the evacuation went smoothly and people were quite relaxed and understandable. However, in the rush hour, I've heard loads of people tutting and getting really hot under the collar when a person on the line causes problems to their journey.

Isn't it easier as Andrew says to "Keep Calm & Carry On" and have a bit of sympathy for the people involved?


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