Wettone.com

A relatively uneventful journey

Aug
29

As I passed through the barriers to leave the Jubilee Line at about 6:20 last night, I noticed that the mainline area of Waterloo station looked remarkably dark. Suddenly an automated voice came over the public address system, “Due to a reported emergency, would all passengers please leave the station.”

I walked out of the Underground station and saw that, not only were no lights on in the part of Waterloo I could see, but none of the escalators were moving either. They were all full of people trudging upwards.

I went out onto the street, and walked around the outside of the station, and upon entering it again via the entrance at the western end of the concourse, I noticed that none of the lights were on there either. All the departure monitors were blank, none of the ticket machines were working and all the shops were shut.

Fortunately, I knew which platform to head for, because my train always departs from the same one: lucky 13. Still none of the monitors were working, and the vast majority of passengers were standing around looking very confused.

There was a train waiting at platform 13, so I boarded it, got a seat and carried on trying to do the Times crossword. Yes, the cryptic one. The train seemed to have power: its lights were on and the air-conditioning was operating, which was fortunate because it was fairly warm inside.

The guard's voice came over the intercom to inform us that there had been a power cut "in the London area," which didn't tell me anything I couldn't have deduced for myself, and that all trains were at a standstill.

The lights came back on at about 7:00, and a few minutes later trains began to move again. We eventually left the station at 7:25 and I had an otherwise uneventful journey home.

It seems I was lucky: I arrived at work this morning to stories of people being trapped underground and having to walk along the tracks to get out. Other people were above ground at the time and just went to a candle-lit pub to pass the time.

As an aside, I have devised a fantastic wheeze. I sit on the train with the Times crossword in front of me, and try to solve it. (During my long wait last night, I got 12, but my average is two.) The trick is that I don't have a pen, so nobody watching me can tell how many clues I've solved. I've been doing it all week and so far have received nothing but impressed looks.

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About this page

This is an entry in Stephen Wettone's weblog, published on 29 August 2003.

Summary of this entry

As I passed through the barriers to leave the Jubilee Line at about 6:20 last night, I noticed that the mainline area of Waterloo station looked remarkably dark. Suddenly an automated voice came over the public address system, “Due to a reported emergency, would all passengers please leave the station.”

Other weblog entries

The most recent entry is Reducing SlimStat's database size, published on 20 April 2006.

The next entry after this is My computing prowess, from 10 Sep 2003, and the previous entry, published on 18 Aug 2003, was Lost in a forest.

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