Friday, July 08, 2005

Very Quiet Friday

Firstly, may I thank all of those people who have taken the time to share your reflections and to offer your prayers for all of those affected by the events of yesterday. I must admit to still being a bit shocked by it all.

The District line was running a near normal service today (or at least trying to) with the obvious exception of the Edgware Road service.
When I booked on at about 1600, we were running quite well! I have to say at this point a huge thank you to all of my colleagues and the police who worked through the night to make sure that trains which had been abandoned in stations were checked and returned to depots for the start of service this morning. I know our customers appreciated it.

Anyway, as I got into my shift I hear over the radio that the service is being suspended because of a security alert at West Ham. Sadly the first of several this evening.
After a while, the area was declared safe, only to be followed by a suspension of service due to another alert at Victoria. Again, eventually trains were allowed to run after being declared safe by the police.

I was being held at a red signal on Putney Bridge (I was actually admiring the view along the Thames) when I got a message saying we were now suspended on the Wimbledon branch (where I was) due to a security alert at Parsons Green. I called the controller to be told this was a serious incident involving lost property which had been hidden on a train and could be some time.
I obviously kept my passengers informed of the circumstances, and even (after gaining permission) walked through the train and spoke to everyone informing them of the problem.
Eventually, I had to move my train forward right behind another train which was already in the platform at Putney Bridge station, and had to detrain everyone via the cab. Thankfully, all of the passengers (without exception) were fully co-operative and even thanked us as they left the train.

The sad thing is that the incident at Parsons Green seems to have been a deliberate attempt by a member of public to cause a security alert. You always get some sick bastards, and sadly it will probably keep happening. We really cannot afford to take chances on these things now, and I hope that the passengers will continue to understand that we need to suspend the service etc for their own protection, we're not trying to be awkward.

Can I make a plea that if you're travelling on any form of public transport and spot ANYTHING which you are suspicious about, please tell someone. You won't be made to look stupid and I guarantee that you will be taken seriously.
It amazed me that just a few weeks after the Madrid bombings, I witnessed some passengers go to move an unattended bag from a seat so they could sit down! DON'T TAKE ANY RISKS.

I have to say that this was a strange night to be at work. It was certainly the quietest Friday night I've ever experienced. I picked up a grand total of 23 people travelling through the city late tonight. It would usually be ten times that amount.
I hope that this is just because people simply didn't want to go into town and get pissed out of respect... I hope that people simply aren't scared to use the Underground now.
I've been asked several times by members of the public whether I'm scared to drive my train now. I answer that we can't allow ourselves to be beaten.
I admit that while I was driving through the city, the events were constantly in the back of my mind, but we can't let these cowardly bastards win.
Maybe if I'd been driving one of the affected trains, I'd be thinking differently, and I can only pray that my colleagues involved are ok and do eventually summon the courage to drive trains again.

6 Comments:

Blogger Anne said...

That was wonderful of you to go through the train and keep your passengers well informed of what was happening.

As a young person in soceity who has experienced a bombing of this extent for the first time, I am quite shaken by it all. But I won't let it stop me from using public transport as I feel quite safe that I am in capable hands of professional staff such as yourself. Also, I feel comfortable enough to know that I can carry on with life as normal, because I have heard about the IRA bombings and stuff, so if any city should know what to do, it's London.

Having near enough most public transport services restored just goes to show that London can carry on, but with greater vigilance. I do hope your shifts get better as the week goes on.

Sorry for the long comment!

4:14 am  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Good show, DD. Don't let the rummys win. God save all of you! From the coast of California please know that hundreds of thousands of Yanks in this area are pulling for you and all your mates! And our condolences to the bereaved.

Four of us are planning to visit next spring and I've decided to take a special run on your line and cross that bridge, just to honor your spirit and courage.

God bless.

6:27 am  
Blogger Barry said...

I'm very impressed by your actions during the many security alerts yesterday.

I totally agree with you about not taking any chances with unattended items left on trains. So if you see something suspicious DO NOT touch it. Report it to the police or a member of staff.

District line driver - I'm very proud to work alongside yourself and your trainside colleagues.

6:31 am  
Blogger Desertgalrose said...

Hello, I live in the Southwestern part of America and I just wanted say that I admire a man like you and all the people of England...for managing to go on with so much fortitude, care for your people and faith to survive this awful ungodly, attack on London! My condolences to the bereaved. My prayers are with you, England and her great people! I've visited London and the UK once, and look forward to another visit, maybe in the future. God Bless You and England!

6:36 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

I was out on the toob on Friday evening, Bakerloo line; rather subdued but more people than I expected.

10:22 am  
Blogger Harrington-Khalsa said...

We in the NY subway are starting to take unattended packages a bit more seriously. It is slowing down the trains but what can you do. most of the packages are just personal stuff but they are keeping the lost and found full.
to us it seems like 9/11 all over again calling for us to put more energy into the job. We all feel compelled to explain every routine stop so the all ready anxious passengers don't start climbing off the trains. It a war of nerves and I find myself in the middle of it. It all calls to mind the joke they told in my transit worker family to describe those who did not serve in WW2 when they described someone as the ''nose gunner on the IRT'' [a subway division]I felll that is what I am now. Hope you are well and just can relax. I know its tougher for you as the London tube is much smaller with less room for escapes than the NY tunnels. Be well.

1:19 am  

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