Going Underground

In the tube, waitingIn further London-based excitement, I was forced into something that most Londoners never get the chance to do: walking in a Tube tunnel. I was taking the Picadilly Line train down to Kings Cross, and, just after leaving the Caledonian Road station, the lights in the car dimmed and the train stopped — nothing particularly unusual. But a couple of minutes later the driver got on the loudspeaker and told us that there had been “a person under the train” (a euphemism that isn’t quite a euphemism) at Kings Cross. 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 - 1In the Tunnels - 5

We finally emerged, many of us snapping pictures with cameras and phones, into the station:
In the Tunnels - 7Emerging from the tunnels

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 - 2

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.

4 responses to “Going Underground”

  1. Zack avatar

    I was walking down to Kings Cross station yesterday as people were emptying out of the station. I searched for news of the incident this morning, but have found nothing with any details on the “person under a train” situation. I have heard this as a reason for delay several times, but never hear anything more about it than that warning. I guess the TFL likes to keep mum, and the rest of London doesn’t care.

  2. Stuart avatar

    I was on the train in front of you which stopped at the location of the disused York Road station halfway between Caledonian Road and Kings Cross.
    There was talk of us walking down the track tooonce yours had finished ‘detraining’ . In the end the power came back at about 1:30 and we continued on into the (closed) Kings Cross where the paramedics were waiting for us with water.
    I was quite disappointed that I didn’t get to walk the track, however we were much further from Cally Road and it wouldn’t have been easy as there were lots of young children, push-chairs and people with flimsy summer footware on the train! A manager from LU did reach us, but whether he walked from Kings X or came down the stairs at York Road I’ve no idea
    I’m curious as to what happened to the ‘person under the train’, anyone know?

  3. Member of staff avatar
    Member of staff

    The person under he train was still alive, and remained so until they died in hospital.

  4. tes avatar

    did it make you think of cern?