Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Underground

I know you're not visiting the Globblog today to hear news of the London terrorist attacks, but I thought I'd give you my personal reaction nonetheless.

As regular readers know, my family and I recently returned to the US from spending four months in London (January 31 to May 31 of this year). I rode the Metropolitan Line almost every day going into the LSE or to tourist attractions in Central London from our terrace in Harrow, and from news reports it appears that not only did the first bombing occur on that line, but four of the six tube stations attacked today are on the Metropolitan.

While no one yet knows the full extent of the attack, it is certain that the London transit system will be in major disarray for many many days -- perhaps weeks -- to come. Not only was the Metropolitan Line hit, but the six stations attacked affect also the Circle, Hammersmith and City, Northern, Central, Picadilly and District lines. The murder of London commuters darkens today, and the choice of stations ensures that this attack will continue to plague London long after the victims are laid to rest. These sonsabitches knew what they were doing.

UPDATE: There appears to have been three explosions on tube trains. The structural damage to the Underground system appears to be extensive.

Here's the official word from Transport for London: "At 09:46, the London Underground was suspended and all stations commenced evacuation following incidents at: Aldgate station heading towards Liverpool Street station on the Hammersmith & City line; Russell Square station heading towards Kings Cross station on the Piccadilly line; and Edgware Road station heading towards Paddington station on the Hammersmith & City line."

Edgeware Road sounds particularly severe: "The explosion occurs at 0917 BST on an Underground train at the station. It rips through a wall and affects two further trains." This could affect up to four lines: Hammersmith & City, District, Circle and Bakerloo.

Both northbound and southbound trains were affected on the Piccadilly line near King's Cross.

I've read several reports that suggest the train near Liverpool Street was a Circle line, not a Hammersmith & City line. That being said, the Circle line shares tracks with Hammersmith & City near Liverpool Street, and the Metropolitan line will also be affected.

More information here.


At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Joshua said...

"The murder of London commuters darkens today"

According to the BBC, many tourists were also caught up in the mayhem.

Coming as it does at the height of summer, apart from anything else, this event is bound to have a major impact on London's massive tourism industry.

These b*stards certainly did know what they were doing.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger calmo said...

More than sobering news.
Hard to maintain perspective when this kind of violence is transported to our own front yard. We are accustomed to news like this in the war zone which may be so commonplace it rarely gets much coverage (and even then it is carefully cropped). We forget that there are millions of people who live in this environment every day. We don't even bother counting the blasts or the dead (aside from the US soldiers) in Iraq, (that place which we view as atleast temporarily uncivilized, certainly not a tourist destination).

Yes, Al Quaeda knows what it is doing: letting us know that Homeland Security is inadequate, maybe even hopeless; letting us know that our economic stability, resting so much on expectations, is at the mercy of political shocks; letting us know that sagging approval ratings of Bush and Blair can be bolstered with a few carefully planned bombs; letting us know that terror is closer and more tangible than any tourist could imagine.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous peBird said...

And of course Bush's brilliant comment "the war on terror goes on."

And on, and on, ...

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, how biting that is: Bush's brilliant comment. Blindingly so. I need to calm myself.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger calmo said...

Despite the tragic events in London, the Dow gained more than 30pts. It wasn't because oil prices sagged, nor that 10yr bonds suddenly looked like poor investments. Maybe it was in anticipation of tomorrow's glowing employment numbers. The story is that it was "the flight to quality": the DJIA gaining momentum from London's loss.
The BoE maintained the current 4.75% rate and with this terrorist attack, the consumer, already stressed by little or no income from his house, faces a stiff challenge ahead. This could be enough to send those house prices and the UK economy spiralling downward.

At 10:05 AM, Blogger calmo said...

Even the London market climbed the day after. [That flight to American quality, returned the next day to recover nearly all losses.] A triumph of the British spirit and all those stiff upper lips.
Why don't I buy this? Why can't I see this as an affirmation of the stuff the English are made of: true grit. Why do I keep thinking this is a shock, a bad one, that will puncture an economy that has the same soft, swollen under-belly that we have?
I'm just not British, that's it.

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