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The day after

So I had the urge to go into town yesterday. I had to go and see it for myself as there was a little bit of me that almost didn’t believe it and I needed to see signs of disruption for myself. I know it’s morbid, but the BBC television news coverage I thought was actually quite ‘watered down’.

Sky and ITV were being typically being a bit more direct, but until I read in the papers the next morning about dead bodies lying on tracks, people having severed limbs, and actually seeing the pictures of tube trains blown apart that it started to sink in properly.

And without wishing to sound blood-thirsty, I wanted it to sink in some more. It wasn’t real was it? London? The Tube? A place that I know and love all too well? I had to go and see it for myself.

There were police on ‘guard’ (!) at Epsom station which got me straight away. Is little old Epsom town a target now, or was this happening at all railway stations all over the country?

At Wimbledon, you could see trains that were only going to High St. Ken – no Edgware Road service today.

Signs were up at all tube entrances, making references to “Yesterdays attack”. There was no Circle or Hammersmith and City line services. Other parts of the network were suspended. I wasn’t sure if the trains were quieter or not, but everyone who was on board, sat there – on a tube train – looking at pictures of a blown up tube train. Surreal.

I went to Edgware Road first and then down to Tavistock Square and King’s Cross.

There were police and TV crews everywhere. You couldn’t ‘see’ anything as all the road had been cordoned off and screens/barriers erected, but you got a sense of it being not a normal day.

King’s Cross was the main hive of activity, as there were TV trucks and crews all over the place and people being interviewed.

Then I saw some of the people that had pictures of friends of people that they were looking for. The press gathering round to hear their plea for the person that they were looking for. That isn’t very nice, because in their hearts, they must know that the person they’re looking for is most likely dead. Waiting to be recovered from that last Piccadilly carriage. We know it. They know it. But until it’s official, it can’t be said.

Reporters were sat across the road from their TV trucks and vans and on the pavement with their laptops filing back to base. Using a wireless network located on the station concourse perhaps? It was just an unusual sight.

People had started putting flower tributes around the temporary sign at King’s Cross.

One-hundred feet below, rescuers were still going through the train to get out the bodies. I later found out that the Piccadilly Line tunnel is massively damaged and will not re-open for a long time.

Bought an Evening Standard. “Missing” was the headline that you saw everywhere. People still don’t know what happened to friends and family from yesterday morning. Shocking.

The usual Victor Lewis-Smith TV review from ‘the night before’ was in the paper too, but right at the bottom there was a sub-note saying “Due to yesterdays incident and change in TV schedules this programme will now be broadcast at … “ and gave a date in the future. That was wierd.

It reminded me of the strange things like that that happened yesterday too – like Channel 5 abandoning its regular output and just switching to Sky News. And radio station XFM in London (owned by Capital) merged radio broadcasts as Capital dropped its normal format and went for rolling new coverage as well.

Web-wise, I got part embroiled in a message thread on the transport forum here. One of the saddest messages is of someone giving the description of an LU staff person that remains unidentified, and could anybody else reading it help?

I also remembered that I’d posted something on the London Underground blogspot early in the morning when it was still initially being reported as ‘a power surge’. I remember thinking at the time that I wasn’t sure whether if a power surge and maybe a train or two stuck somewhere was worth blogging or not. Then within a couple of hours it was all horribly revealed to the full extent that it was.

Annie had then done updates throughout the day, and the message board with that days entry got the most hits/responses that I have ever seen.

I’d seen enough. I was depressed now, so to instill some normality I headed out east to the ExCel centre in Docklands to where the BBC News on tour are this week. I’ll blog that tomorrow.

I came home via the tube again. I’ve never heard so many announcements of “Please take all your belongings with you at all times” in one day before.

The police were still stationed at Epsom station. “For reassurance” said my friendly ticket inspector.

I walked back home to put the TV news on again, and find that the death toll has risen some more.

Then I made this: (See post below)

8 responses to “The day after”

  1. Simon says:

    Its all quite surreal and of course tragic. Having been working in the last two years in London, I’ve always wondered when or if this would happen and it has. It made it to work (next to Bank) with the usual problems (broken down trains) on the northern line on thursday, but having to walk the last bit from London bridge as the train pulled in and they suspended the service. The street were a sureal place, busy, but calm somehow everyone knew something was up. Then we started getting the news. It was just strange with a feeling of sorrow for anyone caught up in it.
    We can only hope this never happens again, as it is something I never have to want to go through again.

  2. Neil says:

    I went into London myself today.

    Got the tube from Edgware Road Bakerloo to Oxford Circus.

    ER was dead – always is though.

  3. Kelly says:

    Geoff, your descriptions of what you see and what you feel during this tragedy are understandable. This is how far the terror alert has spread since this attack on London…here in the San Francisco Bay Area, our version of the subway system, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) was on alert, with police and dogs on the trains. Our thoughts here in America are with all of you in Great Britain, and all freedom loving people around the world. There has to be hope for a better world. God Bless.

  4. Excellent job, with your first hand “reporting” Geoff… maybe you should be a BBC “journo” instead of a tech guy. If anything the BBC bosses (hoping they are reading this now) should give you a raise (££) for representing the BBC so well to the world. Well done.

    It’s still hard to believe that the Tube, where I spent so much time and had so much fun recently, was hit the way it was. So tragic, so sickening for the families of those people lost. I can’t imagine their pain.

    England will recover from this and be stronger for it. They don’t call it “Great” Britain for nothing.

  5. Mikey says:

    It seems strange that out of the hundreds of tv channels i have, the newspapers, and millions of internet pages, here is where i come to find out what it really is like in london. Your way of expressing what you feel when you see the scenes is able to make me understand what it is like to see it. First class job on reporting this tradgedy, and i agree with kris that you should be a ‘journo’.
    Just finished listening to the song, and agree that it is very fitting.

    Keep up the good job.

  6. Jezz says:

    Dear Terrorists,

    Just what the f*ck do you think you’re doing?

    This is London. We’ve dealt with your sort before. You just don’t try & pull this sh*t on us. Do you have any idea how many times our city has been attacked??

    No, we thought not.

    So, let’s get it straight right now, whatever you’re trying to achieve is simply not going to succeed.

    All you’ve done is end some of our lives. And ruined some more. How is that going to help you? You don’t get rewarded for this kind of sh*t you know.

    And if, as you MO indicates, you’re an Al-Qaeda group, then you’re out of your tiny bigoted minds.

    Because if this is some sort of message to Tony Blair, we’ve got news for you.

    We don’t much like our government ourselves sometimes. Or what they may do in our name. But listen very clearly, we VOTED for them, so we’ll deal with that situation ourselves thank you very much.

    We’re London and we’re got our own way of doing things you see. And it doesn’t involve f*cking cowards tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.

    That’s because we’re better than you. In fact, EVERYONE is better than you. Our city works, we rather like it and we’re going to go about our lives regardless. That’s once we’ve taken care of the lives you ruined. Then we’re going to work. And then we’re going down the pub.

    So you can pack up your bombs, shove them up your arse and get the f*ck out of our city.

    Yours Unbowed.

    The People of London.

  7. Like you, the “gravity” of the situation never really dawned on me until I started reading the press reports. Then again, logically, that sort of thing must have been a direct result.

    I do get the feeling we’re being “mollycoddled” with the news right now.

  8. Amy says:

    Great clip Geoff. Very powerful.
    Again, so sorry for the families and friends of the victims. I am sure the stories must be coming out by now. So very sad.

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