7th July Narrative

Last week's bombings were not all about me, and my precise movements are not of that much interest to many people. However, it's emerged that it was closer to being about me than I would have guessed, so in an attempt to remember, I'm tracing things back. No-one really reads this rubbish anyway, but since I'm writing it down I'll publish it.

I would probably have got to Luton station at 7.25 as normal, to catch the 7.29 Midland Mainline to St Pancras.

The bombers apparently got the 7.24 Thameslink to Kings Cross Thameslink, which carries on to London Bridge and down towards Brighton.

(Background: St Pancras, Kings Cross, and Kings Cross Thameslink are three separate stations close together in a row. There's heavy building work going on currently at both St Pancras [for the new Channel Tunnel terminus] and at Kings Cross [new underground ticket hall], so moving between them is slightly awkward at busy times).

I think there were bad delays on the Thameslink that morning. The 7.24 might have been 10 or 15 minutes late coming in. Signalling problems around Elstree or somewhere? All I can remember for sure was that they were announcing delays generally, but from the screens the Mainline seemed less disrupted than the Thameslink and I took my 7.29 as normal, which came into Luton on time.

The 7.29 was however delayed on the way to St Pancras. It normally arrives around 7.50-7.55, but was about 15 or 20 minutes late, I think. I get SMS updates from London Underground at 7.50, and the update that morning said that there were delays on the Northern line due to a failed train between somewhere and Stockwell (south of Central London). The last update time on the message was around 7.35, and as I was already running late I optimistically thought the problems should have been fixed by 8:20 or so when I got to the Northern Line.

I don't know when the Thameslink with the bombers would have got into Kings Cross Thameslink. By the timetable it should have been 8.00, but my recollection is that it was late coming into Luton, and it might well have been delayed on the line down to Kings Cross as I was. My guess is I would have been slightly ahead of the bombers getting to Kings Cross Underground.

The boards at Kings Cross Underground were reporting "Minor Delays" on the Northern Line. Again, I thought it would be pretty much fixed by this time, so I took the escalator to the Northern Line platform.

When I got there it was ridiculous. It was so packed I couldn't even get onto the platform. I walked down towards the far end of the concourse, and stood by one of the entrances to the platform. After a few minutes a train came in, people struggled off and on and I was able to get onto the platform, just.

I stood and played with a Rubik's Cube. I vaguely remember a blonde foreign girl with a large bag getting past me. I then decided the delays were still too bad, so I extricated myself from the platform and headed for the Victoria line (Up the first escalator, turn right).

From there my journey proceeded normally -- change at Green Park to the Jubilee line and on to Canary Wharf. At 8.50 I was probably around Green Park. I got to the office around 9.15-9.20, I think.

Writing this down has brought back a few memories, but nothing useful. If suicide bombers were attractive women, I'd be in with a chance, but I never noticed any Pakistani men with rucksacks.

The Northern Line problems are interesting. It's been suggested that the bus bomber may have intended to hit the Northern Line, but been prevented by the failure, and wandered off in confusion and indecision before detonating on the number 30 at 9.47.

In the early confusion, the Northern Line delays perhaps suggested that there had been an attack there too - my wife was called out of the class she was teaching and told there'd been a bomb on the Northern Line, leading her to leave a very scared message on my mobile's voicemail, which of course I didn't get for 15 minutes in the network congestion.