Underground services

Services are gradually returning to normal, though on many lines the passenger numbers have been reduced by a factor of 10. I have heard stories of passenger numbers in places like White City and Bond Street. Where on a normal Friday 50 people might get on at White City, 2 got on today. At Bond Street where there would normally be 100 people getting on, 4 people got on. There are large numbers of police in the underground, sniffer dogs, CSO’s, on trains, in stations, everywhere.

As for King’s Cross, the tunnel is apparently in very bad shape – near collapse. There are still a large number of bodies, possibly up to 30 in the wreakage and the tunnel. Supports will likely be needed to make the tunnel safe first, so expect the number of victims to rise from the current 50 or so to closer the 70 or 80 mark, perhaps even more. The Irish Times reports:

Andy Hayman of the city’s specialist operations branch said police had yet to reach one of the London underground train carriages where a bomb went off at rush hour yesterday.

“When I describe the scene in Russell Square, it has yet to be the case for us to get near the carriage,” he told a press conference. “There is the threat of the tunnel being unsafe.”

The blast on the underground train between King’s Cross and Russell Square stations killed at least 21 people.

“The complexity of getting to the carriage is one of safety,” Mr Hayman said. “Just imagine an explosion that far into a tunnel in that number of the carriage, I think we can all respect the sort of things our people are actually confronting,” he added.

“I think out of respect for others that’s probably the most detail I’d want to go into.”

Search parties have been able to get near the carriage, and have accessed the situation. The diplomatic speak is probably the best thing right now, one can only imagine the scene.

East Coast FM

Well I think that well, Declan and Tracy were very interested in learning about blogging – I was on for a good 15 minutes I think. I guess to really cover every aspect of blogging a whole hour long show could be devoted, with a few bloggers on the line. We did get a good few things covered though. The whole citizen-journalism aspect, like reading blogs by soldiers in Iraq, or Iraqis, or Iranians, or Londoners directly involved in yesterday’s bombings, could take up an entire show in itself.

And then theres vlogging and podcasting too.

No archiving available of the show, but Simon listened in and thought it went well! I didn’t record it, maybe I should have! Oh well.

Underground explosions

The driver of the Picadilly train that was going between Russell Square and King’s Cross survived the attack. The bomb exploded in either the 2nd or 3rd carriage of the train. The train was packed, but casualty figures may be lighter than expected, perhaps down to just how packed the train was. We will have to wait and see.

Both drivers involved in the Edgware road bomb are safe, both taken to hospital with shock, with no reports as yet of injuries to Underground staff.

My thoughts are with the familes of the victims, and all those affected.

Bombs in London

This is a terrorist attack.

The BBC are reporting the explosions as the fault of power surges, but according to my own sources in London Underground, this is highly unlikely. And power surges don’t happen on buses either. I am trying to contact other friends and sources in London, but every phone is not acccessible. The explosions are in Liverpool Street, Aldgate, Edgware Road, Old Street and Russell Square. A bus in Tavistock has definately been blown up.

From my own sources in London:

the major lines are affected are the Hammersmith and City, Circle, Central and Metropolitan Lines.
2 bags found under seats
body parts seen in underground
the entire underground has been shut down
all intercity services have been halted.

100 people per carriage at peak times, 800 people per train, or thereabouts at the times involved.

More as I get it.

Update: 10.55am

All other trains on the underground have been evacuated, there are no reports of trains stuck between stations.
Mobile phones are not working for large parts of London, probably due to loads ton the network.

Update: 11.10am

Bus in London

Having watched the pictures of the bus explosion on Tavistock Square, the entire top half of the bus appears to have been blown off, one could speculate that this is a Madrid-style attack. All bus services in London have stopped. Casualties have been numbered at 20, but I think the figure is likely to be alot higher. The BBC London website, and the Guardian websites are getting huge loads.

Update 11.23:

Tony Blair to make statement at midday.

Update 12.54

Charles Clarke due to make statement at 1.15pm. I guess the one advantage London has in tracking down terrorists is that there are cameras literally everywhere in London, either for security or the congestion charge. Reports from Washington DC suggest that public transport systems are being actively searched.

Update 13.08
According to my London Underground sources there are people trapped on the Picadilly Line between Russell Square and King’s Cross. The problem facing emergency services is the depth, at that point the tunnel, is between 150 and 200 feet down. People who have visited London may know these stations for their very long escalators.

The tunnels themselves are also quite narrow, which could mean the tunnels themselves may have been affected by the blast. The emergency services are moving extractors down to take out smoke in the tunnels.

This particular line is extremely congested, and was so at the time of the explosion. Becase the line is so deep, the casualty figures will likely remain low for some time, but then dramatically rise. If two trains were involved it could mean as much as 1600 people on board, with unknown figures for people who managed to escape.

Update 13.48

Check out the UK blogs aggregator for reaction and stories about the events.

Caoimhe
points to Chris who has a tranlsation of a claim of responsibility from an Islamist website, bare in mind this is just one of many claims that will come:

Announcement on London’s Operation 7/7/2005

Jamaat al-Tandheem Al-Sierri (secret organization group)
Organization of Qaeda’t al-Jihad in Europe

In the name of God the most merciful…

Rejoice the nation of Islam, rejoice nation of Arabs, the time of revenge has come for the crusaders’ Zionist British government.

As retaliation for the massacres which the British commit in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mujahideen have successfully done it this time in London.

And this is Britain now burning from fear and panic from the north to the south, from the east to the west.

We have warned the brutish governments and British nation many times.

And here we are, we have done what we have promised. We have done a military operation after heavy work and planning, which the mujahideen have done, and it has taken a long time to ensure the success of this operation.

And we still warn the government of Denmark and Italy, all the crusader governments, that they will have the same punishment if they do not pull their forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

So beware.

Thursday 7/7/2005
Jamaat al-Tandheem Al-Sierri (secret organization group)
Organization of al Qaeda’t al-Jihad in Europe.

Update: 14.42

Flickr
have a pool for photos from London

Technorati is filling up with posts.

The bus has been identified: A Transport for London spokeswoman says the bus hit by the explosion was a number 30, travelling from Hackney to Marble Arch.

Update: 14:48

Moblog photos have started appearing.

Underground mobile phone

The Guardian’s newsblog
is one of the best sources for those of you not watching TV

Update: 15:46

The BBC have pulled out all the stops to stream TV over the net, works better than even on normal news days.

Update: 15:48

Terminal 3 in Heathrow is being evacuated