Explosions in London – but I’m safe
Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I’m based in London and no longer live anywhere near Siberia.
There have been a number of explosions here in London today – official sources so far are saying it was a power surge on the tube (metro), but lots of eyewitness reports (still unconfirmed rumours at this time, but I’d give them some credence) are saying that bombs have exploded on three buses – someone described a bus as being ripped apart by an explosion – as well as on the train lines.
Anyway, right now, I’m safe and in one piece, sitting tight in the centre of London. More later, as and when I hear it.
Update 11:15am: Well, the bus explosions (or, at least, one of them) have been confirmed, and it clearly looks like there are a number of fatalities. Accurate news is hard to come by; mostly we’re going by eye-witness reports from staff who have been straggling into the office all morning, and that old standy – BBC Radio 5.
I’m currently based in a central London office block next to Hoburn Circus, about a mile away from the explosions. Everything seems quiet, and we’re not particularly worried about our safety, although everyone is a bit edgy. The main issue for us at the moment is the phone network. Both mobile and landline connections are intermittent at best, with conversations being cut off mid-stream, even when we manage to make the connection in the first place. Everyone is trying to get in touch with their loved ones – including me – and usually failing.
Oddly enough, though, our high-speed internet connection continues to work faultlessly.
Update 11:18am: The Met Police Commissioner has just reported 6 explosions across London in: Edgeware Red, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Russel Square, Aldgate East & Moorgate. They’ve also found traces of explosives at some locations.
Update 12:40pm: All calm here still. The major tasks of the morning have been checking up on the locations of staff (thankfully everyone I work with is now accounted for) and trying to decide what to do tonight for staff who live outside London. Do they try to head home late this afternoon and hope that transport links are back to some semblance of normality, or do they try to find a spot for tonight in London? Hotels, as you would imagine, are now very hard to come by for tonight. Almost all are booked up – certainly in the centre – and many aren’t taking bookings at all. Rooms are still available, however, on the outskirts of the capital (I managed to find some in Brent Cross if there is anyone out there still looking).
Update 13:40: I’ve just returned from my first sojourn out of the office today. Despite the rain, the streets are eerily quiet. No buses, very few cars and I didn’t see a single black cab. London doesn’t look alive without their red and black forms jerkily bumbling up and down the streets. Overground train services are partially running – the service from City Thameslink, which is the nearest station to my office, is managing to go north fairly regularly (every 15-20 minutes) but not south at all. This seems a little odd to me as, to go north the trains have to go through Kings Cross, which is currently closed, whereas they shouldn’t pass through any affected areas on their route south. Ah well, either way it means I’m stuck in the office for a while longer, as I live south of the river.
Update 14:50: Well, it seems as though things are beginning to pull back together in London. The underground and buses are still down, but the rail system is running a limited service and people are gradually beginning to drift away from my office on their long treks home. Some of them have been shopping to pick up trainers and raincoats in anticipation of a long walk, but mostly we’ll all be carried home by rail, I think.
For those of you still stuck in London and looking for a way home – National Rail Enquiries have posted a website with updates of which train services are running, and where.
If you’re looking for comprehensive updates on what’s happening in London today, I’d suggest you drop by Europhobia, who guaged London’s reaction perfectly with this comment:
13:01 – God, us Brits are great. Hardly any panic – more just getting pissed off that it’s going to be a bugger getting home. I love this country sometimes.
And this (also from Europhobia) is just pure class…!
I tell you what, if this is an "Islamic" terrorist attack, they’re doing a piss-poor job. The pubs are all packed out, people sipping their pints happily, all a tad pissed off, but basically fine with it. Nice one, Al Quaeda – you profess to be from a teetotal religion, and you’ve given the pub trade a massive mid-week boost. Result.