Well yesterday I was in London catching up with an old mate at Kings Cross. I had to get back for 2pm for a viewing on a new house (we’ve been toying with a move). Following a very useful chat I got back on the tube to head for Waterloo St to catch my train home to Teddington. It was 12.30ish so plenty of time I figured….
As I changed from the Piccadilly to the Northern line at Leicester Sq I heard a platform announcement saying that the Circle line had been suspended with delays on the District line. I think it also said that Edgware Rd station was closed. So obviously some sort of problem but I was only minutes from Waterloo so no problem. Umm. I got up onto the concourse at the station to check the departure boards for the next due train. This is London’s busiest station with 17 or so operating platforms so it takes a minute or two to scan these massive displays. I’m just eyeing right to left when suddenly all the platform numbers disappeared and the displays showed ‘delayed’ across every rail journey. Eh?
Next thing is the place is full of police and rail staff telling us to evacuate the station. Aw bugger. It’s 1pm and I’m getting time-pressured. So off we traipse outside, hundreds of us. There’s no news on what the problem may be. I’m wondering whether it might be a security scare given the earlier tube announcements. Not good. Anyway I’m stood next to this guy – middle-aged, well-dressed, well-spoken, businessman no doubt. We tsk tsk a bit and I said to him that I was just considering whether to call ahead to cancel my appointment and having a little moan about the lack of information about what’s happening. Suddenly he turned to me and snapped ‘I blame Blair’. What for the lack of information, the evacuation, the financial problems in the Eurozone, the situation in Libya? Incredible. We’ve been given no details but Mr Monday Club here was blaming the guy who left office as our PM several years ago for this particular difficulty with our trains.
Fortunately the police announce an all clear before he and I could get into a debate on politics. I caught my train and I was still just about ok on time. The guard’s voice came over the PA; he apologised for the delay and explained that the evacuation was necessary because someone had triggered a fire alarm, inadvertently as it happened, somewhere in the station. Now call me a sentimental old socialist but I was more than prepared not to blame Tony for this one. Unlike my friend, Toby Tosspot of Tunbridge Wells. He must have been outraged to hear the news. Smirk.