Welcome to the fun, "irreverent & informative", award-winning London Underground - Tube Blog.
Click here for other London Underground guidance. Contact me here

Going Underground's Blog
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
If you like this you'll LURVE One Stop Short of Barking, the fun and informative book about travelling
on the London Underground.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Terrorist Escaped from Waterloo Station

Entrance to Eurostar on 8th JulySome of the tabloids today are sensationally showing amazement and shock at how one of the bombers from the 21st July managed to leave the country by train at Waterloo on Tuesday.

Sunday Mirror said:
"Unbelievably, it emerged that Osman had been able to slip out of London on a Eurostar train on Tuesday - five days after the abortive London suicide attacks - despite his picture being circulated at every port and airport in a massive security clampdown.........

"Meanwhile an inquiry is under way into how Osman made a mockery of Britain's security clampdown by boarding a train to Paris. He escaped under the noses of a Special Branch police squad based at Waterloo International station. From Paris, he travelled to Milan and then on to Rome. Police were able to track him by tracing calls made from a mobile phone belonging to his brother-in-law

I use Waterloo station most days. I often walk past one of the entrances to Eurostar from the London Underground (see picture on the above) and have noticed loads of police throughout Waterloo station and I'm sure there's plenty at the Eurostar boarding section too. Like many thousands of commuters I could have easily walked past Hussain Osman, despite his (admittedly rather blurry) image being shown on posters all around the station. (I wonder if he was helpfully still wearing that vest he seems to live in?)

Anyway, while all the investigations and enquiries continue, let's not forget, that in the end the police did manage to track him down, he was caught, and that the other three suspects were arrested in the UK. I'm sure now we will be seeing even more police presence at Waterloo and hopefully even tighter security at all stations.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, July 31, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 29, 2005

All suspected bombers arrrested - London and Rome

Mobile phone picture of arrests from the BBC siteTwo women arrested at Liverpool Street station

Liverpool Street station was briefly closed at around 2pm this afternoon as as two women wearing Islamic veils were arrested.

Artur Yeroshin, a 21-year-old working at a shoe cleaning booth on the station concourse, filmed the arrests on his mobile telephone, with footage showing a policeman pinning one woman to the floor as other officers cleared the station.

British Transport Police said: "A number of packages were examined, but the stations have now been reopened." The station was re-opened at 3.20pm.

See the
BBC for more on this.

[Update 6pm - All four suspects from 21st July now arrested]

Meanwhile it's being reported that the two men arrested today in raids in Notting Hill and North Kensington may be two of the the suspected bombers from the 21st July failed attacks. Again the BBC has the low down on this.

Sky News report that 4th London Bombing suspect has been arrest in Rome

I've just heard on the radio that there's been a further arrest in Rome! I've just been watching Sky News. This certainly appears to have now been confirmed by several news agencies that the man arrested in Rome is Osman Hussain. He is thought to have attempted to set off a bomb at Shepherd's Bush.

The police will be making a press conference about today's dramatic events at 7pm tonight.

[Update 7.25pm - Police statement on the arrests]

I've just watched the police statement by DAC Peter Clarke. Roughly he said that it had been a day of "intense activity" and that "important developments" had been made. He confirmed that three arrests had been made in West London. One in Tavistock Square, near Notting Hill, and two men arrested at a Peabody Trust estate in Dalgarno Gardens, North Kensington. The two men there failed to surrender and "specialist tactics" were used to get the men from the building. Since then, one of the men identified himself as Muktar Said Ibrahaim. Clarke also said that "another man of interest to the investigations has been detained in Rome" and that Italian authorities named him as Hussain Osman.

Police statement on arrests given by Peter Clarke

No questions were allowed after the statement as nothing more could be said as it might "prejudice the right of any individual to obtain a fair trial". Clarke stressed that the safety of the public is paramount. "There will be more very visible police activity." He was grateful for the public's continuing support and understanding. However, "We must not be complacent. The threat remains, and is very real. The public must be watchful and alert. I would like to reassure the public that we are doing all we can to keep you safe". Full police press statement here.

Absolutely amazing day and it's fantastic that these guys were all alive as hopefully this will lead to even more potential bombers being arrested.

What a striking picture

Speaking of "very visible police activity". It's not directly linked with today's events but Tony Preece's picture below of armed police eating McFlurrys in a McDonalds in Leeds station on the day raids were made in Leeds on the 13th, is just, well, totally surreal, on so many levels!

Tony had a chat with one of them after taking the picture and says in his blog "he and his armed colleagues are called out all the time, the only difference between them and the normal police force is that they aren't seen that often and hopefully that will always be the case in this country".

Photo by Tony Preece

Jean Charles de Menezes buried in Gonzaga

Finally, we must not forget that today was also the funeral of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian man shot by police at Stockwell Tube station. This was held in his home town of Gonzaga. A London vigil at Parliament Square was also held to coincide with the funeral.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 29, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Harry Potter, Terrorists and The London Underground

Harry Potter and Terrorism side by sideMany of you know that my view on Harry Potter - literally based on reading one book - ("
Goblet of Fire" if anyone's interested) is that I've not been able to see what the fuss is about. I've been amazed by the amount of adults that read the books and I've snapped pictures of commuters reading them on the Tube.

Perhaps now is the time for me to eat my words, as it seems that the latest tome is much darker than the previous books. Apparently, there's a lot of discussion about Rowling "playing the terrorism card" and whether that will make the book less timeless.

As I've not read it, I've taken most of my knowledge of it from an interesting article in US site Slate which shows how Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince "rings a few bells" in the current climate. My comments in brackets.

"Voldemort takes up terrorism. The Dark Lord and his Death Eaters - who had gained strength in the earlier installments and have finally arrived in force - use their newfound power to spread fear in familiar ways. They destroy bridges. They murder innocents. They compel children to kill their elders." (I think we've all been shocked by the age of some of the bombers - the youngest was 17)

"The Ministry of Magic issues pamphlets on "Protecting Your Home and Family Against Dark Forces." (Remember the Preparing for Emergencies leaflet that was much spoofed at the time)

"Fred and George Weasley's shop makes a mint selling Shield Cloaks, which protect their wearers from harm. (We've got the wonderful Commuter Emergency Kit)

"The new Minister of Magic jails an innocent man, hoping to stave off panic and create the impression that he's taking action. (Has parallels with the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes)

"And Harry, Hermione, and Ron greet the morning paper with a familiar sense of dread: "Anyone we know dead?" .......

"What is J.K. Rowling up to here? Is she criticizing the War on Terror or simply using it as a plot device? In some scenes, she does take jabs at the Bush and Blair administrations. The Ministry of Magic's security pamphlet, for example, recalls the much-scorned TIPS program: "Should you feel that a family member, colleague, friend or neighbor is acting in a strange manner, contact the Magical Law Enforcement Squad at once." (We've had recent posts and discussions about this).......

"But close reading of the book suggests that Rowling's motives are more authorial than political. She's not using Harry to make points about terrorism. She's using terrorism to make points about Harry. Rowling culls the scariest elements of modern life and uses them as a kind of shorthand, a quick way to instill fear.".......

"Today, however, as we substitute for our abstract fear of Voldemort the very real fear we've felt in our own immolated cities, the new book resonates in ways that the old ones have not."

As it's still pretty unlikely that I'll read Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, I'd be interested to hear any views on this, particularly from people who have read it. At least I'll be less sneering of adult readers now!

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 29, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

London Underground and unions met today over safety issues

Largest number of police on London Transport as transport unions talk

Yesterday British Transport Police carried out its "largest ever deployment" and presence on tube and railway stations to reassure commuters. From
Yahoo News - love the headline - British Police Flood Trains and Buses - "Spokesman Simon Lubin refused to reveal how many officers were deployed, but he said 1,300 officers in the capital and about the same number across Britain were working longer hours, and some vacations were cancelled". (Mmmm - who was it who told me on
Police didn't want the public to know their movements?)

Later today (as blogged on Wednesday with some interesting comments) the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union met to discuss security issues.

There had been threats of industrial action if their safety fears are not allayed. RMT leader Bob Crowe said "We're not saying that we want changes overnight or tomorra. We wanna know from London Underground that they've got a programme that will put measures in place."

Fortunately the RMT were happy with the plans which means a strike isn't on the cards. Mayor Ken Livingstone made a commitment not to reduce staffing and agreed that any train without a working communications radio would be taken out of service.

There would also be more discussions on matters such as better emergency training and equipment, including breathing apparatus for rail staff and the strengthening of drivers' cabs.

However, the re-introduction of guards which was something the RMT wanted was not agreed. "Rail guards were last in operation in 1999 on the Northern Line and were phased out with the introduction of CCTV on trains which allowed drivers to see the platform." See the BBC for the full story on this.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 29, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Travel Update - Edgware Road Station re-opened

District Line commuters can now use Edgware Road

As from this morning Edgware Road station re-opened. However, according to the
BBC - "Platforms and trains at Edgware Road remained virtually empty during the usual morning rush hour.

Some may have avoided the station, which showed no sign of the devastation caused by the blast, due to nerves while others were not aware it had reopened

Howard Collins, London Underground's service director, said he expected the station to be quiet on Friday but that it would get busier when the Hammersmith & City Line opens on Tuesday. The Circle Line still remains suspended.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 29, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tube Bomber is arrested & ABC News release chilling pictures

Suspected Warren Street Bomber seized in Birmingham & Bombed Tube carriages are shown

From ABC news - Bombed London Underground carriage at AldgateOne down, three to go. Police have confirmed that Yasin Hassan Omar is being questioned in a high security unit in Paddington Green London over the failed July 21 attacks.

A Taser stun gun was used on Omar.

Deputy assistant commissioner Peter Clarke said - "This of course is an important development in the investigation."

Also Scotland Yard have confirmed that three women had been arrested on suspicion of harbouring the bombers in Stockwell.

The fact that the Police have got the suspected bomber alive is brilliant as hopefully they'll be able to tighten the net even further and find out where the other maniacs are. Reports are coming in that had the 21st July bombs worked they would have caused at least as much destruction as the ones on the 7th.

See the BBC for the full story including a chilling picture of an X ray of a nail bomb said to be amongst those found at Luton after the July 7th attacks.

US broadcaster ABC News has shown exclusive photographs of serveral bombs purportedly found at Luton railway station following the 7 July attacks. The Times provide a transcript of the ABC broadcast.

It also broadcast images of the inside of the London Underground trains destroyed by bombs at Aldgate where eight people were killed, the Edgware Road carriage where seven were killed and the Piccadilly line carriage at between Russell Square and King's Cross where 27 people were killed on the 7th July.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 28, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Mobile phones on tube email - it's rubbish

Mobile phones and emergency numbers on the tube

There's an email currently doing the rounds (I've just received it) saying:

"If you travel to work on the tube please note the following information:

If your mobile phone has no signal (so even if you were in a tunnel) if you
dial 112 it diverts to a satellite signal and puts you through to the 999 call

ALL phone companies have signed up and as it is a satellite service it also
gives them a trace to you if you don't know where you are

It's rubbish and
Transport for London had to make a statement confirming this.

"This e-mail is incorrect. The 112 number does link people through to 999, but it only works if you have a signal on your mobile phone. If you have no signal bars on your phone, it will not work.

"It will not divert to a satellite signal.

"Even with a satellite mobile phone (which very few people have), you would need to have a clear line-of-sight to the satellite. You would have to be outside, not in a building or a tube tunnel

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 28, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

How do you feel about travelling by Tube now?

Metro front pageMetro ask and get an array of answers

Today's Metro, published some of the letters and emails they've received, saying commuters have understandably been nervous. "Those who fit the stereotype of the bombers are under suspicion - because of religion, colour, behaviour or the bags they carry." Sadly, as you'd expect, most are from Muslims who've been verbally abused and been looked at suspicously. Also one from a woman who says:

"I am neither Asian nor Muslim. Yet this morning on the Central Line train four people watched me very closely as I opened my handbag, too out a packet of tissues and blew my nose. I am a mixed race, young English woman. Please do not confuse vigilance with paranoia".

This is closely followed by someone who wrote:

"Every time I see someone get on to the train with a rucksack my stomach lurches. Paranoia, I know, but please stop carrying them."

However, one of the most barking mad letters I've seen in Metro on the subject is from yesterday, which Metro chose to highlight - "A New Solution for a Safer Commute":

"This is clearly a time for applying unconventional ideas to the transport network. If we can get Londoners talking on the Tubes and buses, I predict our fears would be reduced by the community feeling - and the chances of deterring an attack would be increased.

My idea is to supply high visibility 'Volunteer Bag Check' jackets to commuters, who would invite other commuters on the network to open their bags. This would get people chatting. People who don't want to open their bags wouldn't be under suspicion but others would note that they hadn't entered into the spirit of things. The jackets would be passed on and could be sponsored by businesses having a 'vested' interest in getting their staff to work

Please, please, please let me have some of the drugs that you're on.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tube Drivers may strike over safety issues

Rail unions still concerned over safety

As I blogged
last Friday the RMT at it's weekly meeting with Ken Livingstone and Transport for London were none too happy about safety levels on the tube, and some of their drivers had been refusing to take out trains.

Metro report that yesterday, that the RMT "would consider balloting its 11,000 members if talks with London Underground fail to reach agreement today"

Metro front page report on threat of tube strike

"The union wants the introduction of guards on trains, more station workers and better emergency training and equipment including breathing apparatus for rail staff. They also accuse Transport for London of wanting to reduce staff numbers and weaken fire safety regulations."

"RMT officials descibed talks on Friday as 'disappointing' ansd said they would support any members who delt too at risk to work."

See The Evening Standard for more on this. I imagine this is one strike, that if it does happen, most people will be backing. But how long could they go on strike for something like this? Would it be one day industrial action to bring it more the public eye? A series of one day strikes or something longer?

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Temporary London Underground Sign seen in Flickr

This MUST be Photoshopped

London Underground sign - supposedly from Notting Hill

Whatever, it's already doing the email rounds of offices. Supposedly seen at Notting Hill Gate tube station.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

More Potterspotting

Waterloo & City Line spot

Continuing in my sightings of
people reading the new Harry Potter on the tube, I've now lost count of how many commuters I've seen with the book.

However, I think these were my first two suited and booted blokes on the Waterloo and City Line. The vast majority of people who travel on the line are usually reading about the latest mergers and takeovers in the FT or huge company reports, yet they can still get engrossed in Potter. I spose it's a "bit" of light relief for them.

Harry Potter on the Waterloo and City Line

As yet very few people I've seen reading it seems to be looking happy about it though. I've not noticed anyone laughing and probably only a couple of people smiling while reading it. It's almost as if it's some penance - "Must get through all million pages. Must be one of the first people to say I've read it". However, perhaps the looks of determination are just the fact that it's so gripping.

Harry Potter reader at Bank

My, my, isn't the man above carrying a rather large rucksack for the Waterloo and City Line? Perhaps I should report......

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 25, 2005

My Brush with the Law - It's official I'm suspicious

Why I wouldn't make a good terrorist

I was going to blog tonight about the increased police presence I noticed today. From Bank where I change onto the Docklands Light Railway right through to my quiet home station (whose name I can't mention right now - but anyone who knows me or has been reading my blog long enough knows where I live).

So this morning, I'd been happily snapping pictures of five policemen and a sniffer dog at Bank whereas the most I'd ever seen before were two. Right through to this evening with two policemen at my home station.

You've probably gathered that I don't have a camera phone and use a normal digital camera and it's pretty hard to take pictures surreptitiously with it. So I'd been hovering remarkably suspciously round my station trying to take pictures of the two bobbies there this evening. Rather than cut my losses, after I'd taken a few from a distance, I decided to stand just outside the station and flick through them on playback. Even when the two police moved much nearer to me, I decided to stay put, thinking I would look even more suspicious if I moved off quickly. Wrong!

They went back into the station just inside the doors and I thought - cool - I'm much nearer now I'll take some more close ups. Bad move.

One of the policemen came over to me:

"Why are you taking pictures of us?" he said.

"For my website," I replied feebly.

"What's it about?"

"Travelling on the London Underground, do you want the URL?" (ever the publicist)

"No, no, I believe you, why do you do that?"

At that moment in time, I was beginning to ask myself the very same question - "It's just something I've been doing for years as a hobby" - which also sounded pretty feeble.

"Do you mind if I see the pictures, as you must understand at the moment it does look a bit suspicious you taking pictures of us." You mean you managed to see through my amazingly nonchalant stance.

So, I showed him and fortunately got to the stage where I'd taken pictures of the Evening Standard headlines so that I didn't look like I was some policeman picture snapping nutter/maniac/terrorist.

"Well can I ask you to delete them and not put them on your website. At the moment it's not a good idea for people to get an idea of our movements. The ones of The Standard are OK"

"No probs" I said and deleted them in front of him.

"I'm going to have to take your name and address as well. And your date of birth".

Thank Christ I'm a reasonably law abiding citizen with a clean driving licence, a full TV licence and fully paid up poll tax, car tax, etc, etc.

"Do you have any ID?" Showed him my driving licence and with a "Please don't take any more pictures of us", I was free to go.

The things I do for this blog.

BTW the pictures were pretty rubbish anyway, but the one at Bank, I quite like with the sniffer dog in the middle, and he didn't say I couldn't put those up. It's a bit blurry, cos there's no flash and I was in a rush.

Police at Bank Station with sniffer dog

So if my house gets raided in the middle of the night and my computer empounded you'll know why.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 25, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Bomber pictured on tube train

Evening Standard Scoop

Doubtless you'll see this all over the front pages of tomorrow's papers, but The Evening Standard were the first to publish, CCTV pictures of the bomber before he attempted to set off a bomb at Oval tube station.

Evening Standard front page of bomber on the tube

You can see the picture more clearly here on Yahoo news, but he's just strap hanging like a normal commuter on the tube looking remarkably calm. Bear in mind this is only minutes before the bomb was left.

Evening Standard vendor at with bombing headline

For the full story with the names of the two bombers from the CCTV pictures and two further arrests check out The Evening Standard.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 25, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Travel Updates - Aldgate station re-opened

And Metropolitan Line has full service

Flowers at Aldgate Station after relatives visited the scene - Picture by ReutersAs from this morning, commuters will be pleased to hear that
the Tube have re-opened Aldgate station, where seven people were killed, and a full Metropolitan Line service is in operation following the attacks on the London Underground on the 7th July.

However, following the failed bombings on Thursday 21st July, the Hammersmith and City Line is still closed between Hammersmith and Baker Street. Three men are still being questioned about Thursday's attacks but Police believe they are not the four bombers - see BBC News.

Families and Victims visit bomb sites

Yesterday, before the stations were re-opened, family of the victims and some of the injured themselves bravely, visited the scenes of the bombings in an effort to come to terms with the horrific effects on their lives. However visitior to Russell Square couldn't go down into the station because of ongoing police investigations.

The Guardian report that : "Police also arranged a briefing for 230 relatives and friends of the killed and injured intended to update them on the investigation. Among them were some of the walking wounded - one man still had his right eye patched; another was on crutches.

'People have been upset but very emotional, but the briefing was worthwhile and we hope the families have got something out of it,' said Superintendent Annette Wightman, in charge of the police's Family Assistance Centre.

'Some people did have concerns about the investigation and other people were positive and supportive, so it was a mix of emotions.'

Police cordoned off the roads to keep the press and public away, and press were not allowed to talk to the participants.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 25, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Man shot at Stockwell Tube NOT connected to the bombings

Very scary stuff

Update - a lot of you who have made comments below obviously got to my blog before I had a chance to update it with the latest news in that the man who was
shot at Stockwell Tube station was not connected with terrorists.

The dead man Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old who had lived in London for the past three years - was shot at five times in a tube carriage at Stockwell London Underground station and Scotland Yard have said:

"We are now satisfied that he was not connected with the incidents of Thursday 21st July 2005.

"For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets."

"The man emerged from a block of flats in the Stockwell area that were under police surveillance as part of the investigation into the incidents on Thursday, July 21. He was followed by surveillance officers to the Underground station. His clothing and behaviour added to their suspicions. The circumstances that led to the man's death are being investigated." - From the Daily Telegraph's coverage of the incident.

Obviously it's way too early to be pointing fingers and apportioning blame, although the post I made earlier below indicates that the police were pretty gun ho that day. Whatever, the whole incident is totally shocking nonetheless. For the latest on the Stockwell shooting, check out the BBC website.

Police point gun at Tube Driver's head

Amongst the latest developments from yesterday, it's emerged that the police briefly pointed a gun at the head of the tube driver of the train at Stockwell, where a man related to the bombing incidents was shot and killed. I've just heard on the radio, that the police have since apologised - that's nice of them!

Like other people, the poor driver was probably terrifed and got out of the tube as quickly as he could. However, he ran down an underground tunnel where the police chased him and held a gun to his head! Run after him, fair enough. But Jeesus Christ, wouldn't it have looked pretty obvious that he was a tube driver? Why the gun against the driver's head?

There's a brief story in The Scotsman about this, but I expect we'll see it more widely reported later.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, July 23, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 22, 2005

Commuter Survival Pack Ad in today's Metro

What a fantastic/sick/opportunist idea! (delete as appropriate)

I must thank
Ralf for pointing out the following ad to me from today's Metro which I initially thought was a spoof ad from Viz. But sadly it's not.

Commuter Survival Pack from Ralf The Cartoonist's blog

If you're really that paranoid about travelling on the tube - buy the items individually from a shop (I'm sure Anthony can give you good suppliers of dustmasks) and don't line the pockets of companies like this.

Whatever happened to "We are not afraid"?

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 22, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sniffer dog at Victoria Station

My first sighting of
"explosive" sniffer dogs

Sniffer dog and police at Victoria Station

I love the look I'm getting from the policeman on the right.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 22, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Man shot dead by Police on the Tube

Police outside Stockwell Station - From Associated PressBreaking news from Stockwell London Underground Station

Blimey, it's all go. Like other people I've just heard about the shooting at Stockwell tube station at around 10am this morning, where a man was fired at five times and killed by armed police in a tube carriage. The
BBC news site says that a passenger saw "a man of Asian appearance shot five times by "plain-clothes police officers" with a handgun."

"Passengers were evacuated from the Northern Line station in south London. The incident followed four minor explosions in the capital on Thursday.

Police have cordoned off a 200-metre area around Stockwell station.

Services on the Victoria and Northern lines have been suspended following a request by the police, London Underground said

Mr Whitby, told BBC News: "I was sitting on the train reading my paper.

"I heard a load of noise, people saying, 'Get out, get down'!

"I saw an Asian guy run onto the train hotly pursued by three plain-clothes police officers.

"One of them was carrying a black handgun - it looked like an automatic - they pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him

Check out BBC News for the latest story.

Scotland Yard have confirmed the timings; "A man was challenged by officers and subsequently shot. London Ambulance Service attended the scene. He was pronounced dead at the scene."

Currently Transport for London's website says:

"Stockwell Station on the Northern and Victoria Lines in both directions has been closed due to police request.

Northern and Victoria Lines trains are not serving this station in both directions.
This will affect journeys from 10:16 on 22/07/05 until further notice

More eye witness reports from the BBC here. But how fooking scary to see someone get shot in the carriage you were in. Obviously the police haven't confirmed yet whether the guy was involved in yesterday's bombings, but I suppose one can reasonably assume that he was.

Update - Well Police sources say he probably wasn't one of the four bombers from yesterday but the police report that he was "directly linked" to anti terrorist investigations. For the full update on today and yesterdays events see the BBC's comprehensive timeline of events.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 22, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Travel Updates following yesterday's attacks

The travel situation is obviously still disrupted due to yesterday's detonations. At the moment, as you'd expect - Oval and Warren Street stations are closed and also the whole of the Hammersmith and City Line is closed.

Most other closed stations and partly suspended lines because of attacks on the 7th July are still in place. The
press release about travel on Transport for London's site is unfortunately quite long. There's likely to be lots of security alerts and closures today too as people are quite rightly extra vigilant and will be report any suspect bags or packages. In fact Tottenham Court Road station was closed this morning and has just reopened. Transport for London advise everyone to either to "check the latest travel information for their routes by calling TfL travel information on 020 7222 1234 or visiting www.tfl.gov.uk/tube/travelinfo", which is sensible advice today.

Rail Unions concerned over safety issues

In the meantime Ken Livingstone will be meeting London Underground staff today in his usual weekly meeting with them. On the agenda definitely will be the fact that some drivers have been refusing to take out tube trains as they had safety concerns.

RMT union leader Bob Crow said staff had expected the entire Tube network to be shut down yesterday, which is what happened on July the 7th following the earlier bombings.

"At the emergency meeting we were told that lines apparently unaffected by the attacks should continue running.

"We will be discussing these issues further when we meet the Mayor, but the RMT has made it quite clear that any LU worker who refuses to work in these circumstances on the grounds of safety will have the complete support of the union."

Mr Crow paid tribute to the "professionalism and commitment" of LU workers who helped to evacuate Tube stations. See The Evening Standard's site for the full story.

New York Subway issue Random Bag Checks

You've probably also heard the news that police are beginning random bag searches on the New York subway to step up security measures in the light of the second London Underground bombings.

The announcement drew complaints from civil liberties advocates in a city where more than four million passengers ride the subway on an average weekday (by comparison about three million use the London Underground each day). The New York subway has more than 468 stations.

However, according to The New York Times most commuters grudgingly accept the inconvenience and I'm sure the same would happen in London if a random search was introduced. As the article says:

"For some, the prospect of the police stopping people randomly, peering into their bags and waving them on seemed to be just another nuisance. In a system where the up escalator so often seems to be broken, where trains always seem to run late when the appointment is most urgent and where the rats seem determined to jump from track bed to platform, how much difference could an occasional bag check make?".......

"Many riders were more reserved in their judgments, and less inclined to question the motives of the police, but were clearly not convinced that a cunning terrorist could be stopped by random baggage checks. The police made clear yesterday that no one would be required to submit to the inspections, and people could simply decide not to enter the subway."

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 22, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Surely not .. New Explosions on the London Underground?

Breaking news at 13:30

Oval, Warren Street and Shepherds Bush (unknown if Central line or H&C) have been closed by the police because of 'incidents'. Smoke was reported coming from Warren Street.

It's gotta be a false alarm .. surely?

More on the BBC site:

[ Update 13:35]

no no no no no .. !

"One hospital, near Warren St station, has started its emergency plan.

Sosiane Mohellavi, 35, was travelling from Oxford Circus to Walthamstow when she was evacuated from a train at Warren Street.

"I was in the carriage and we smelt smoke - it was like something was burning.

"Everyone was panicked and people were screaming. We had to pull the alarm. I am still shaking."

But a BBC reporter outside Warren St station said there was no sign of smoke outside. (Pictures from Warren Street)

And there is now a reported incident of a problem on a bus at Hackney.

[ Update 13:45]

It's the Hammersmith & City line of Shepherds Bush. Reports of detonators going off which suggest failed bombs?

[ Update 13:50]

Ok, they're saying "not as serious" as two weeks ago, but the WHOLE tube system has just been suspended. No tubes people! Incident also on a no. 26 bus in Hackney now being reported.

There's definetely been some sort of explosion on a train somewhere.

[ Update 13:55]

'Explosions' appear to be dummy detonators. No casualties reported. It's NOT a major incident, but windows WERE blown out on the No. 26 bus.

I'm guessing it's someone proving that detonators (with no explosives) still get past the sniffer dogs, and they're doing it to show that panic and disruption can still be caused.

Arseholes. Whoever you are.

[ Update 14:10]

It would appear to be people just trying to cause panic. Only the Northern, Victoria and H&C lines are shut, the whole system is NOT shut. (see the Tube's website)

A rucksack with a "firework like" explosion has happened just before Warren Street. People panicked and rushed out when the train came into the station.

Similar device on the No.26 bus in Hackey which has taken out the windows, and reports of one minor casualty.

Stay calm ...

[Update - 14.30]

Police statment from Commissioner Sir Ian Blair. Read the full transcript here

[15.20 - Update from Annie]

Wow, thanks for holding the fort Geoff, I was busy stuffing my face in Gourmet Burger Kitchen when this all kicked off. Amazingly I would have been at Shepherds Bush around that time, and am still thinking of heading off there this afternoon, as I'm currently updating from an Internet Cafe. Apparently according to the BBC Tony Blair is about to make a statement any time now so listen to the radio or watch TV.

[15.44 - Update from Annie]

The BBC are showing pictures of armed police arresting a man outside the gates of Tony Blair's Downing Street offices. Keep an eye on the BBC reporter's log for latest updates.

[19.00 - Update from Annie - Some pictures of the day]

I only live a few miles from Shepherd's Bush in West London. So I thought I would still go to Shepherd's Bush as planned, anyway just to see how far I could get. Not very far as it turned out but took some pictures on the way.

Outside my station, The Evening Standards with their new alarming headlines were coming off the van.

Evening Standards with Tube Bomb Terror headline coming off the van

I took the District Line to Hammersmith as planned and normally, I'd be able to change there and get onto the Hammersmith & City Line to Shepherds Bush. Going past my old home station of Kew Gardens, I saw a policeman, which is probably the first time I'd ever seen a cop there.

Policeman at Kew Gardens Station

At Hammersmith, not surprisingly the station was crawling with police and as I arrived lots of people were crowding around a noticeboard as one of the tube staff was writing down the latest closures and travel updates.

Travel updates at Hammersmith tube station

Leaving Hammersmith, I saw that Shepherd's Bush Road had been closed off, so short of walking there, I thought I may as well head back home.

Shepherds Bush Road closure

Outside the entrance to the Hammersmith and City Line there was a pretty simple sign

Sign outside the Hammersmith and City Line

By the time I got back to Hammersmith, the handwritten sign had filled the board and the Piccadilly Line had been completely suspended along with a number of other sections of lines. As usual people were milling around looking a bit confused and pissed off that their journeys home would be delayed, but no one was wringing their hands and fleeing the streets.

More travel updates at Hammersmith station

So I headed home on the District Line and saw something which kind of sums up the last few days worth of posts. On Tuesday I was happily posting about Harry Potter sightings on the tube and now it's bombs again.

Harry Potter and Tube Terror side by side

But thankfully no one died (even though the Police say they meant to kill), no one was seriously injured and the police have managed to gain a lot of forensic evidence which hopefully might catch these nutters. In the meantime life will go on as normal and we'll continue to travel public transport and this will just make people even more vigilant and even more determinded not to be afraid.

As Ken Livingstone said, at today's press conference;
"I'd like to start by congratulating the police and the emergency service and the tube and bus staff who have responded with even more remarkable speed. For those of you who watched this unfold through the television coverage the speed of the response I think was absolutely amazing. And the other factor is that the underground staff and the bus staff have managed to get the vast bulk of the system back up and running and have clearly shown their determination not to have our life disrupted more than is absolutely necessary by these incidents..........

It is not surprising that we have had another attempt to take life in London so rapidly after the first. Those people whose memories stretch back to the terrorist campaigns in the Seventies and Eighties and early Nineties will remember there were very often horrifying bombings in London often only weeks apart and we got through that and we will get through this

; Posted by Anonymous Thursday, July 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Remembrance Service for Bus Victims

Two weeks on from the attacks on London and the 14 victims of the bus bombing will be remembered at a special service at the British Medical Association headquarters, close to the spot where the number 30 bus exploded at Tavistock Square.

BMA's website says: "A multi-faith act of remembrance will be held in the BMA courtyard at 12 noon on Thursday 21 July, lasting about half an hour. BMA staff and members who were affected or who will be near BMA House on that day may wish to attend. For those who cannot attend, an edited film of the event will be placed later on the website."

Doctors and staff from the BMA found their headquarters turned into a mini hospital on the day of the blasts. I'm sure many lives were saved because of their work.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Train driver's view

I could never drive a tube train

One of the good things about travelling on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) - in fact it's probably the only good thing about travelling on the DLR - is that you can sit in the front of the train and pretend to be a driver. I'm sure people initially find it quite disconcerting that no one appears to be in the driving seat apart from a random bunch of commuters. But as the
DLR's site says: "DLR trains are driven by an automatic system, they do not require drivers. Each train however is staffed by a highly qualified Passenger Service Agent."

Going into Shadwell each morning I sit at the back of the train so I'm near the exit of the station. Leaving I travel at the front so I'm near the exit for Bank. Most nights the train's pretty packed so I don't get to sit in the front seat, but last night, there were some spare seats at the front so I reminded myself what a dull view some train drivers must have.

Here's the wonderful view leaving Shadwell when you can see Docklands and the Gherkin in all its glory:

View from DLR leaving Shadwell

But here's the view that loads of London underground drivers have - although it will obviously be less blurry - not being able to take flash pictures on the London Underground and travelling at a blinding speed doesn't help my photography here.

View from DLR arriving at Bank

Imagine looking at tunnels like this every day. No wonder they look so bored.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Only a matter of time

My first new Potter spot

I wondered how long it would take me to see my first person reading the
new Harry Potter book on the tube. Well I spotted this guy yesterday at Bank station waiting to get on DLR train with me.

Reading Harry Potter at Bank

So that was only two days after publication. He seemed fairly engrossed for the one stop he travelled reading it. Personally I cannot see the appeal to adults (give me Philip PullmanI prefer Philip Pullman in this genre anyday), but I must be in the minority here. But good luck & well done to JK Rowling who's earning about a million pounds a hour out of the latest book. I'm sure this guy will be the first of many that I'll see reading this on the London Underground.

Reading Harry Potter on the DLR

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 20, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

This blog hits the Beeb

Blogging and the BBC

A quick hello and welcome, if you've come to this site from the
BBC's feature on blogging and also a big thanks to Darren Waters for featuring the blog as a "Pick of the blogs" - delighted to be in the same company as the fantastic Boing Boing.

If regular readers want to read my short interview with Darren click here.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 20, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Bombed Edgware Road Carriage has been removed

Picture from Associated Press - Edgware Road Carriage removedThe wrecked carriage where seven people died near Edgware Road tube has finally been removed from the track last night.

Since the London bombings, police have been working to remove all the bodies of the victims before the Circle Line carriage could be taken away.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Until today it has been a full crime scene so everything has remained as it was. There has been removal of bodies."

The bomb was in a standing area near the first set of double doors at the front of the Tube.

A spokesman from the London Underground said: "Our first concern was that the train was structurally safe prior to being lifted. Once this had been confirmed then the lifting operation could commence. Weather conditions were ideal and this enabled the lifting operation to be completed in around 25 minutes, which was quicker than earlier expectations.

"The Edgware Road site is still a site of a criminal investigation, but we are hopeful that the station will be returned to London Underground by the end of the week.

For more see the BBC's website.

To make Comments see original blog entry.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 20, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Dogs to detect London Underground explosives

Sniffers v Scanners

Well it looks like the
body scanning company will have to find some new orders while Pedigree pet food may be looking to add more orders to the London Underground's account. Sniffer dogs will be used "indefinitely" across the Tube's network to seek out explosives.

Sniffer dogs story in The Standard Lite

According to the BBC: "The sniffer dogs being used, which tend to be labradors and spaniels, undergo an intensive eight weeks of training with their dog handler.

The spokesman added
: "They operate just like dogs who search for drugs except they have been trained to sniff out explosives.

"They [the dogs] are far more effective than any machine."

Bloomberg's site continued: "The dogs, mostly spaniels, are being positioned at ticket barriers, sometimes three or four at a time, to check the smell of passengers' luggage, police spokesman Donal O'Reilly said in a telephone interview. On trains they are being used to search carriages for suspicious packages. As many as 30 dogs are being used in the operation.

Sniffer dog at Piccadilly Circus tube station

I'd not seen many sniffer dogs on the Tube - apart from the one above which I saw in action at Piccadilly Circus last January. He/she was bloody lively and got into action pretty quickly, and with a dog barking and crawling all over someone or their bag it probably would be more effective (and scary) than a bleep of a scanner.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 19, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Fines for people who leave bags behind?

Would the London Underground ever do this?

Just heard on the news on HeartFM that some expert has called for there to be fines for people who leave unattended bags on public transport. Hundreds of unattended bags have led to security alerts and he says that they also add to general panic and insecurity. People get fined for fare dodging, using the emergency buttons under false pretences, making eye contact and talking on the tube, so why not leaving their bags? (OK, yes,
talking and eye contact are made up - you may have seen spoof posters that lead some people to believe otherwise though)

Unattended bag poster taken at Green Park

Anyway, bearing in mind that currently it's only some voxpops story on the radio, but I think he's sort of got a point, specially in the current climate, but goodness knows how it would be policed. I spose people could get charged for collecting their bags when they pick them up from lost property. Or does that happen anyway?

Update - Just found out from the BBC's site, that fining people for leaving bags was actually a serious suggestion and that Ken Livingstone has said NO.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 19, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

London Underground Travel Update

Most of Tube service back to normal in a fortnight

Good news for commuters, Transport for London announced today that in "two weeks' time it is expected that all Tube services, with the exception of the Piccadilly line, will be fully up and running."

Aldgate Tube station could open as early as next Monday, 25 July.

It's hoped that the full Metropolitan line will resume on the same day.

A special Hammersmith and City line service is also expected to begin operation to help travellers who need to get to the northern part of the Circle line.

Read the latest on
Transport for London's site.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 19, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 18, 2005

Travel Updates & Tiring isn't it?

King's Cross Station Open

A lot of commuters will be pleased to hear that from this morning,
King's Cross station has now been re-opened on the Metropolitan, Northern and Victoria lines and interchange with other tube lines is also available.

Taking up seats

It's been a sweltering week and last week as I was travelling to the Trafalgar Square vigil I saw a woman opposite me looking tired, deep in thought and in need of a rest. I'm sure she's flouting loads of official and unofficial tube etiquette in one fell swoop here. Bag on the seat, feet not actually on the seat and taking up a couple of seats as well. Well, the carriage was pretty empty at the time, so hey ho.

Taking up space on the tube

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 18, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 15, 2005

Trafalgar Square Vigil

Pictures from the day

Geoff and Neil and thousands of other people went along to the vigil in Trafalgar Square yesterday. It was an absolutely sweltering day for London and yet the whole square was reverently quiet for such a hot day.

Hundreds of people queued to sign several books of condolences that were in tents around the square.

The picture below gives you an idea of just how many people were there:

Trafalgar Square vigil for London Bombings

We were behind a "We are not afraid" Union Flag, which seems to be the slogan which sums up how everyone felt:

We are not afraid on Union Flag

Author, Ben Okri opened the speeches with to be honest a rather confusing, long and unmemorable poem (disappointing for me, as I'm normally quite a fan). Then Ken Livingstone came on and gave one of his typically stirring speeches with the unity of London as the key theme - "Those who came here to kill last Thursday had many goals, but one was that we should turn on each other, like animals trapped in a cage, and they failed, totally and utterly." Other speakers included Seb Coe, Tony Blair wasn't there so we had to make do with the next best thing - the Prime Minister from Little Britain, actor Anthony Head (non Brits will know him from Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and newsreader Trevor McDonald.

I'd be interested to see what other people thought of the vigil. For me it was great to show support and the first time in ages that I'd actually attended a mass gathering like that.

Police Appeal for help

I'm noticing a lot more appeals from the Police to the general public for anything that can help with the investigations. There was a full page ad in today's Metro and as I was coming back from the vigil I noticed the following poster at Tottenham Court Road station.

Police Appeal poster

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Free Tube Tracker for your PDA

For all gadget fans

Thanks to
Jon Choo for signing the comments above I discovered that Visual IT's special version of PDA Tube Tracking service has been released free of charge to help Londoners get back to normal as quickly as possible. That's jolly nice of them and is one of the many actis of kindness and generosity I've seen come out of this tragedy.

Free download of PDA Tube Journey Planner

I am so untechy and haven't got a PDA, but I'm sure it will be very useful to those of you who have and also people taking part in the upcoming Charity Tube Challenge should include this in their gadget bags for the day.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 14, 2005

London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund - How you can help

Build a personal fundraising webpage

As you know the
Tube Challenge for the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund was announced yesterday by Geoff and Neil and already dozens of people are signing up for this event at the end of August. However, if you feel that travelling around over 200 tube stations in one day is beyond you but you still want to carry out a sponsored event, or even raise money for the Fund instead of having birthday presents - you can now build your personal fundraising page for victims of the attack, their families and dependants.

When you build a page you can personalise with a photograph or any image and then simply email it to everyone you know, or put it on your blog or whatever, then anyone with a credit or debit card can donate online and most importantly leave a message of support. It only takes a few minutes to set up and the system automatically adds 28% Gift Aid tax to donations from UK tax payers. Funds are paid directly into the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund straight away so they can help people immediately. So, click here to build your personal fundraising page for London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund.

If there's nothing you want to build but like the information you're been reading in the blog please make a donation to this page I've built for the Fund.

Thank you.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 14, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Security Issues & Remembering the dead

Bags and stuff

I don't know about you, but I'm gradually beginning to see fewer police around on the London Underground. I spose this could be because for the last two days I've been travelling out of work quite late. Anyway to compensate I'm certainly seeing a lot more posters about how to keep safe on the tube and things to look out for. Most are the simple straightforward message below:

London Underground security poster at Wapping tube station

Yesterday I saw one based on The Usual Suspects poster which has been nicked loads of times by ad agencies. Can't fault the London Underground on any grammatical errors or spoofing potential in this one, however I think it was one that was produced before last Thursday's attacks.

London Underground security ad at Shadwell station

Apparently since last Friday there have been over 100 security alerts caused by unattended bags. Read London Underground station assistant -
The Station Master's report of his experience of a bag left behind on Saturday.

Two Minute's Silence and Trafalgar Square Vigil

Don't forget the two minute silence that will be held today at 12 noon to remember those killed and injured last Thursday. On your way into work this morning you may have also noticed London Underground staff collecting for the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund. They're at over 60 stations on the network doing this.

Mayor Ken Livingstone is also inviting people to attend a vigil which is being held in Trafalgar Square at 6pm tonight.

Representatives of the transport and emergency services will be there, and the evening will include poems and readings by members of different faith and community groups.

As Ken says: "London will not be moved from our goal of building an open, tolerant, multi-racial and multi-cultural society showing the world its future and to thank the heroes of the transport and emergency services who saved so many lives last Thursday".

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 14, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Travel Updates

We're getting there

As Pete says in the
comments, posters are appearing showing that the lines on the tube affected by last Thursday's bombings are gradually being reopened.

The Tube's website said yesterday:

"We are working with the Police and hope to have a full service on the following lines five days after the investigations are completed at Aldgate and Edgware Road:

  • Circle

  • District

  • Hammersmith & City

  • Metropolitan

  • At King's Cross St. Pancras, we cannot yet predict with any confidence when the full Piccadilly line service will resume

    ; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 14, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Tube Challenge - We are not afraid

    Defiance and geekiness rolled into oneTube Challenge

    Tube Challenge in aid of London Bombing Relief Fund
    Tube Challenge
    Regular readers of the blog will know that my co-bloggers
    Neil and Geoff hold the Guinness World Record for travelling around all 275 London Underground stations in the fastest possible time. (18 hours, 35 minutes and 43 seconds in case you're wondering). A few months ago an unofficial Zone 1 challenge (20th May) had a big group of people racing around just Zone 1 of the tube. Now Geoff's thought of doing a big challenge again and I've lifted the words from his site:

    "The tube means a lot to us. We travel on it a lot. Sometimes we travel round the whole system just for the fun it. The 'tube challenge' community is as fucked off about this as the rest of the world, and we would like to say : We Are Not Afraid either.

    'Tube Challenge Community' ? Well - there are a bunch of people (call us geeks if you really must!) who do this on a regular basis - Go round the whole tube system to compete who can do it in the fastest time possible......

    Ken Livingstone shortly announced afterwards an official Relief Fund for families of the victims of the bombings, and so because of this, here is what we are doing:

    A mass team tube-challenge attempt, for all of us to get round the entire network in a day.

    We're not trying for the record - as we recognise that chunks of the system (e.g. the central part of the Piccadilly Line) will not be open for a long time, but we want to do it soon - whilst the memory of what has happened is still in people's minds.........

    i) Charity. People often do this and raise a few pounds & pennies. This time everyone gets sponsored in aid of the bomb relief charity and we really go for it. Let's get thousands of pounds this time.

    ii) Defiance. Solidarity. Togetherness. We are not afraid, and we well get back on the tube - the whole tube - and prove that we are more than happy to ride it. We say "Fuck you terrorists", and we will do the thing that we do best - ride around the tube system

    Visit Geoff's site for more on this and when it's likely to be (late August) and email him if you're up for it.

    And as he likes having the last word, I'll let him have it:

    "Anyone is welcome to take part. I have already had people interested from overseas who say that they will fly in for a couple of days to London to do this. This is brilliant. Thank you. You are more than welcome in our fantastic capital city."

    ; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 13, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    News in at 18.00

    One London bomber likely to have been killed in blast

    The police news conference was shown on BBC News (
    see video) and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clark and Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman said they had CCTV footage of the men. Police believe at least one of four suspected London bombers died in Thursday's tube and bus blasts.

    One man has been arrested and six arrest warrants issued following a series of raids around Leeds in West Yorkshire, (190 miles) north of London), in connection with the investigation, Clarke said.

    Clarke said all four bombers had arrived in London by train at King's Cross station on the morning of the attacks. All three of the bombed underground trains passed through the station.

    See the full police statement from The Times Online.

    [16.30 - Update from Annie]

    Both Sky News and BBC News 24 (see 6th paragraph) are saying that the bomber responsible for the explosion on the Number 30 London bus was believed to be among the 13 people killed on board. Both have cited police sources, although Sky News are saying that all four bombers are amongst the dead. I don't believe that an official police statement has been made confirming this yet, but watch the TV or listen to the radio for more on this.

    ; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    When commuting becomes an "act of defiance"

    Were you defiant today?

    Sir Ian Blair on the Tube - From The Sun It's funny when your normal journey into work becomes an "act of defiance", but that's the general press coverage at the moment. From today's Guardian - "London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, sought to lead the way by turning his normal 35 minute underground journey from north-west London to City Hall into a symbol of the capital's collective defiance". And in a rather undefiant and slightly camp looking pose for The Sun, we see that on the left - "Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair joined thousands of defiant Londoners by taking the Underground to work yesterday." This could be a great new excuse for being late for work, "Sorry I was late, I was too busy showing terrorists what for".

    Defiance T-Shirts

    You've proabably by now come across the T Shirt site where you can show your defiance even more (Commission going to the London Bombing Relief Fund).

    London Stands T Shirt

    I personally think some of the slogans like "You missed me", are a bit tasteless. However, I love the double meaning of "London Stands" - wonder if this was intentional as the guy who set up the site lives in Italy and may not be used to the amount of standing we normally do on the tube? It will be interesting to see how long it is before people are wearing them. (At the moment there's a lot of excited bloggings about how brill they are.) But it will only take someone famous to be photographed wearing one and then they'll take off like wildfire.

    Back in Time - Our reaction to Madrid

    I went a bit retrospective and looked at my entries after the Madrid terrorist attacks on their railway. Some of them are eerily similar to now:

    "Travelling in today and reading Metro and staring at the front page of everybody else's paper it was like that horrible car crash mentality we have of not being able to take our eyes away from something so hideous."

    Some of them had that post event weird hindsight: "Obviously Metro couldn't be Metro without a piece saying that "Transport in London 'is safe'", and rightly talks about our fears of similar attacks taking place in London. In fact we're just about to have a "water cooler" discussion about it at work. Commuting will go on regardless - it has to."

    In the days that follow (18th March), my and other commuters' blase reaction to a security alert:

    "My first security alert since Madrid

    Charing Cross Station was closed earlier

    Nothing dramatic and everyone treated it like a normal closure. Meant I got on a Bakerloo train at Waterloo, we hung around on the train for a few minutes, then heard that Charing Cross was closed and the Bakerloo Line had been suspended. Hardened commuters and me leapt off the train and went to the Northern Line with not even a second thought and then I got off at Leicester Square (whose roof at escalator level seems to be held together by a load of chicken wire and gaffer tape)."

    Plus The Economist's reaction to the grammatical errors on the security posters "Posters plastered over the London Underground after the Madrid bombings seemed oddly keen to encourage natural British reticence rather than vigilance. They may, of course, have been planted by punctuation zealots to illustrate to the grammatically lazy the importance of using commas and semi-colons correctly." and a spoof of the poster in question, showing our more likely reaction:

    Spoof security poster from mantlepies.com

    A letter from Metro at the time shows that despite the jokes we were still aware that the London Underground was a prime target:

    "The letters page of Metro had a cracking letter about someone's worry if a tube train were bombed and how half the carriage would get out if the driver what at the bombed end (cheerful lot aren't we?)

    "......why has no one told us what we should do in an emergency if we find ourselves stuck on a train at the un-bombed out end of the train? Presumably, the only member of staff available to direct us would be the driver. But what happens if they are positioned in the bombed-out end of the train? Should we sit tight and wait to be rescued - and risk choking on fumes or beign crushed in a tunnel collapse? Or should we get the hell out and take our chances on the live rails? And if so, how does one get out of a train that's wedged in a tunnel.

    Given that the emergency services have said that rescuing live survivors from this sort of disaster would be almost impossible, it seems pretty poor that there's no information available on board the trains to help us make life-or-death decisions at that 'invevitable' moment"

    Well I think Rebecca from SE23 has a point. Will we see emergency "airline style" plastic cards with drawings of people legging it from crashed tube trains? Will there be posters?

    How times have changed. I wonder what will happen on that front now?

    ; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    Back to work

    Another Monday on the Tube

    This was my first day back at work after Thursday and I imagine quite a lot of other people's too. It wasn't really that different travelling on public transport from the things that I'd noticed on my small trips on Friday, everyone was engrossed in papers and certainly the numbers travelling had picked up from Friday. I got to the Waterloo and City Line and just missed a train heading to Bank but it gave me the opportunity to see a pretty timely and hideous poster for a new book called Incendiary, with a picture of a mocked up newspaper with explosions taking place near the Thames and London Eye and the title What If?

    Incendiary poster at Waterloo

    Getting off at Bank and I was facing the same image again. Great, just what I needed.

    Incendiary poster at Bank

    Although I've now found out that
    the campaign has been axed. The book came out on Thursday and the first time novelist Chris Cleave said the timing was "really morbid coincidence".

    Onto the DLR at Bank and the same sort of numbers of commuters that you'd expect for a Monday morning. However, there was a police woman at Shadwell tube on the East London Line looking pretty bored.

    Shadwell policewoman

    By the time I left work in the evening there were a lot more police around.

    More Shadwell police

    Plus all the locals were talking about seeing a lot more police around.

    "But they're looking really bored man", said a girl walking past me as I took the picture. "Yeah, specially the woman", her friend replied.

    Legging it up the stairs at Shadwell to the DLR and I think I was dreaming that I saw Harry Potter on the platform indicators there. Seriously is the Potter promotion so heavy now that it was subliminally entering my head, or had JK Rowling's publishers go together with the Docklands Light Railway to tell us the book was out tonight, as well as telling us that the next Bank train was in 2 minutes? My fingers weren't quick enough to snap a picture and I wasn't sad enough to miss my train to get an image, but I'm sure I didn't imagine it.

    Anyway, even more police on the platform at Shadwell DLR and that was it.

    Even more police at Shadwell

    Very weird for me today to speak to colleagues about all the confusion in the streets as people had no idea what was going on. No one was actually panicking but I think the general feeling was that people were pretty lost without their mobiles (Most networks in central London crashed or were taken down). While I was at home with the luxury of the TV and radio and the internet, they were all wandering the streets hearing stories of power surges, buses being blown up and stations being evacuated.

    So London's gradually returning to normal. Unfortunately the death toll has risen to 52 and is expected to rise as more bodies are recovered from the train at Russell Square.

    ; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 11, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE