12 Jul 2011
Threat Level from Incapacitated Met Train: Severe
One day after the government lowered the threat level from a terrorist incident by a notch and just shy of a year before the Olympics, the risk of being held indefinitely on a standing train is still severe.
This is the sight of late morning commuters stuck between stations, after being evacuated from one Metropolitan line train to another because of a “signal failure” up ahead. The indefinite wait lasted one hour and we were instructed first to evacuate, then to hold fast, then to evacuate again, because of a Jubilee train being in the wrong place at the wrong time up ahead, blocking southbound trains on two lines.
The most worrying thing is not just the ridiculosity of the original excuse, but the complete absence of a contingency plan, delivered unambiguously and with confidence by either train driver or management. At one point we had two drivers onboard and one manager. Whilst all were apologetic, I would not have been surprised to find both drivers pulling the train in opposite directions, such was the appalling lack of a clear account about what was happening and what should be the response.
Had this incident happened underground, the wait would have been all the more intolerable. At least one passenger had a hospital appointment for her child to attend.
Had there been a genuine emergency, I can’t with any confidence say that we were in safe or competent hands. What on earth must have been going on behind the scenes? Managers being paid 100k+ a year to debate health and safety perhaps? But maybe that is assuming too much proactivity even.
Driver at one point described our delay as "hopefully enjoyable". Philosophical stoicsm on the underground no doubt - though I know he was trying his best and seemed to know no more than us.
Commuters being asked to evacuate to train behind, then change of plan then U-turn.
Previous woes reported by me: July 2010; Jun 2010.