Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Mystery Of The Non-Existent Train Drivers

Six months after the tragic and traumatic events in London on 7th July there remain many unanswered questions and a version of events that fails to add up.

I have tried to establish here the times of trains from Luton and Kings X in an effort to gather some of the 'facts' which are woefully absent from the public domain. My premise was that an investigation into what Ian Blair calls 'the largest criminal inquiry in English history", would make these facts known in an effort to obtain witnesses to these events. These facts would also make sense of what happened that day. Either something happened or didn't happen. Facts are the nearest we can get to establishing the truth and only the truth and therefore the facts will stand up to rigorous investigation.

That the times of trains were totally absent from the public domain was one of the factors which lead to my suspicions that what we were being told happened was not what actually happened. It is now established that the 7.40 from Luton was cancelled and the next train did not arrive in London in time to catch each of the tube trains. The Train Times From Kings X - at last!

Trains not only have timetables, they have train numbers and each carriage also has a number.

The orginal train numbers, according to the Transport for London website on 9/7:

Explosions were as follows (in succession):

* Circle line train number 204 heading eastbound from Liverpool Street station to Aldgate station.
* Circle line train number 216 travelling westbound heading from Edgware Road station to Paddington station.
* Piccadilly line train number 311 travelling from King's Cross St Pancras to Russell Square southbound.

The Piccadilly Line train number then changed to 331.

Update on 7/7 Attack for 10/7/05:

An update of the train identification is that the westbound Piccadilly Line train was actually 331 (not 311) running about 20 minutes late due to an earlier problem at Caledonian Road.

Tubeprune
BBC London Bombs

A fact verified in an email from TFL Customer Services
19/Nov/2005

Thank you for your email dated 5 November.

I can confirm that the Piccadilly train involved on 7 July was the westbound train no 331. The initial reports that we received immediately at the time were incorrect and we updated our records accordingly as soon as we were advised.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. Please let me know if you have any further queries or if you need any help in the future.

Yours sincerely

Fola Olafare
Customer Service Centre
I asked Clive D W Feather about this:
The change from 311 to 331 is probably just a mistake in early reports.

Was the Piccadilly Line train number 311 or 331 and does it matter?

Each train is also made up of several carriages, the Piccadilly line train according to Clive D W Feather consisted of:
The Piccadilly Line train consisted of the following vehicles:

166-566-366-417-617-217

Car 166 was the one holding the bomb.

Yet in an article entitled: Blue Watch relive the bomb hell inside carriage 346A
He found her bolt upright, sitting still in some sort of private hell. For an hour she had remained, unblinking in the gloom, hemmed in by corpses on either side. The two people stared at one another, each wondering how they had stumbled across such carnage that mild summer's morning.

She was an ordinary commuter who found herself at the epicentre of Britain's deadliest terrorist attack. He was firefighter Aaron Roche, the first person to enter carriage 346A of the 8.51am Piccadilly Line service from King's Cross after the 7 July bombs went off.

It was the 48th such service to leave London's busiest tube station that morning, each carriage crammed with commuters, many reading the newspaper coverage of London's Olympic triumph the previous day.

But what should have been a routine trip would, within moments, become part of London's history. Inside the 51ft by 9ft aluminium shell of 346A, 26 people died. It was the carriage where Britain's bloodiest attack since the Second World War took place; where the deadliest of the 7 July bombs was detonated.

Until now Roche has been reluctant to articulate the horrors he found. But almost 100 days after coming across the macabre contents of 346A, the Blue Watch crew manager from London Fire Brigade's Soho station has offered an extraordinary account of what he saw that July morning.

It had just turned 10am when Roche began striding along the dark tunnel towards the stranded train. No one had a clue what had caused its sudden breakdown. Roche had begun to fear the worst, though, as he came across a bedraggled string of passengers, their blackened, bleeding faces almost invisible in the choking clouds of smoke.

The train itself, though, seemed in better shape. Structurally, it seemed fine, its windows smashed by fire extinguishers hurled by commuters desperate to escape. Inside it was a different story. Passengers lay sprawled in each carriage, some nursing wounds, others simply too shocked to move.

Notice no mention of carriage 166 instead we have carriage 346A, mentioned in the article 11 times.

I have researched widely to find details of any of the drivers of these trains, drivers who acted courageously and bravely that morning, who saw things they would not be trained to deal with. The recent New Years Honours list does recognise a tube driver, but an off-duty driver who aided the injured after walking down the track from Aldgate East. What about the drivers of the three trains that day? I have found simply NOTHING.

Except this:
Anonymous said...

Not wishing to denigrate any of the actions of police on the day, not ONE WORD has been said about the driver of Train 311, Tom ****. I joined Tom's train at Kings Cross, travelling in the cab with him on my way to work as a fellow driver, based at Acton Town. I took the first couple of batches of walking wounded to Russell Square and was probably the first member of staff to meet any colleague at the station.

Tom stayed behind in the first car, doing what we as drivers are paid to do, looking after his train and his passengers on it. He helped some by applying tourniques and reassurring others. He saw things that even trained police officers found themselves unable to cope with, but most importantly had to face it on his own before help arrived probably 40 minutes later, a scene of utter devastation in almost total darkness.

He has never been mentioned or praised, he has remained dignified and quiet, and has never returned to drive a train.

Recently he applied for some compensation through his union. The response from the Met Police was "We have no knowledge of this person having been involved in this incident and therefore will not be processing his claim further."

Rather odd because Tom and I were interviewed by police for around three hours after the incident. The press coverage of the other 'heroes' has left him feeling completely empty and devalued. Pity when the the reaction of Police and certain members of station staff are lauded he has been completely forgotten.

Ray Wright
Train Operator
Acton Town Depot

Blogger: Post a Comment
Rachel From North London

This comment has since been deleted from the blog and I reprint it with the surname of the driver omitted.

I reprint it here because it is an astonishing and unbelievable account of how the driver of Piccadilly Line train 311 has been erased along with his train by the Metropolitan Police. Why did they say:
We have no knowledge of this person having been involved in this incident and therefore will not be processing his claim further.

We need to add WHY? to the seemingly unending list of unanswered questions.

8 comments:

Stef said...

Keep at this work on 7/7 please.

Like a previous commentator I am surprised at the lack of commenting on your posts.

Of course, it would be nice to think that professional journalists were investigating the same leads but I fear those kind of days are long gone.

As a slight aside, this post reminded me of the press release issued by the RMT after the shooting in Stockwell

http://www.rmt.org.uk/C2B/PressOffice/display.asp?ID=1539&Type=2

and the line

"Their concerns will have been fuelled by the revelation that an innocent Tube driver today found himself with a police gun at his head during the incident in Stockwell station in which a suspect was shot dead."

I, for one, never heard any follow up to that story either

Rachel said...

Guess what? The police cocked up. It has since been sorted out. They have in fact 2 statements from Tom, and the person who made the remark that they had no record of Tom simply made a mistake. Tom, the driver of 311, Ray, who got in the cab at KX, Steve, the BTP officer all confirmed to me it was 311, and Tom was the driver,with ray beside him, and he has the support of his union and his colleagues and the station staff on this, and the error has been rectified. Tom is entitled to compensation if he wants it, that the CICA are in a bit of a state and the bureacracy leaves much to be desired is no surprise to any of us who hav ehad dealings since 7th July with the CICA for example.


There was ONE TRAIN - the 311 - and we were all blown up on it.

The worried some other passengers had that they heard another train coming up behind them ie Jacqui Head's account - was the Northern line, heard through a gap in the wall of the tunnel passing us as we were all stuck underground.

By the way Bridget, if you have contact with powersurge77 on the team 8 plus boards, which I notice you frequent, can you PLEASE ask him to remove my real surname. As you - and indeed he knows - I am a rape survivor ( my attacker was jailed for 15 years in jan 2004). See 'rachel's Story in the Sunday Times. I am thus legally entitled to anonymity. And I insists upon it. The media have respected this and there is no reason for my surname to be out on the open like this, it is distressing, and offensive and unneccessary. I have asked also that Tom the driver's surname be removed and I had to take down Ray's comment on my blog because of this. We - Tom and myself - have enough going on without people with theories about 7/7 contacting us at work or home because our surnames are unwillingly - and in my case - unlawfully - in the public domain.


I have tried to register with team 8 plus forum so i can contact powersurge 77 and point this out but cannot get access - how ironic!
And how unfortunate that I have allowed access as guests to my survivor blog - even when people claim that the bombs did not exist and call me and my fellow surviviros liars - and yet I am censored from your boards that team 8 plus which you and your fellow 'investigators' frequent - it is not as if I don't have a reason to contribute, having ACTUALLY BEEN 7-10 FEET FROM THE DAMN BOMB on my train .

Bridget Dunne said...

Hello Rachel

You are very welcome to make these points here and I hope you acknowledge that I have never been rude, abusive or in fact, ever called you or any fellow survivor 'a liar'. I have never accused anyone of lying, other than the British State, and that was over the HUGE & MONSTROUS lie that Iraq possessed WMD. I also believe the British State may well be lying about the events in London on 7th July.

The whole point of this blog is to enable myself and others to make sense of what we have been told re; these events. I would have expected that, by now, enough facts would have emerged that verify the official version. Unfortunately, these facts have not emerged into the public domain. To my mind, the more myself and others research and ask questions, the more the official version fails to add up

The account of Ray and Tom, which is truly astonishing, is one of the facts that have emerged and that I use my blog (my own personal blog) to publicise. I have found few voices of ordinary workers that speak about the events of that day, those that were in the frontline so to speak. I have read that some firefighters have feared disciplinary action if they speak to the press. In The Line Of Duty

You state that the issue of compensation for Tom has now been rectified, and I am sure we both agree that he thoroughly deserves it, as well as recognition of his courage and bravery in dealing with the carnage that you all faced.

One of the important issues that has arisen is that of the train number. I am no trainspotter, but have learnt about the significance of train numbers. As you can read from my article the original train number, the one you and KCU refer to, was reported as 311 and then changed to
331. When questioned about this, TFL replied:
"I can confirm that the Piccadilly train involved on 7 July was the westbound train no 331. The initial reports that we received immediately at the time were incorrect and we updated our records accordingly as soon as we were advised."
I will be contacting them with all the evidence, including that on your own blog, that states that the train number was in fact 311 and ask them why they changed it. Perhaps you have an explanation for this error.

As for using yours or Tom's real names, I have never done this. I use my real name on this blog, which is my choice. I have no say in the Team 8 + forum, I joined myself after July 7th and have had no problem leaving posts on the forum. I am not respomsible for what anyone else posts. but I will post a request to have your name removed.

Kier said...

Hi Rachel,

The problem you mention with Team8+ is a technical one - I know of other members who have also had difficulty posting there, myself included. Hopefully, it will be sorted out soon.

The Antagonist said...

Tom, the driver of train 311, the originally reported blast train, will now get his compensation. This is good news.

This leaves the issue of Piccadilly Line train 331.

Transport for London are still sticking to the revised Piccadilly Line train number of 331 which is in keeping with why driver of train 311, Tom, was initially refused compensation, the Metropolitan Police having 'no knowledge of this person having been involved in this incident'

From Transport for London, the people who run the London Underground:

Our ref: 1084546

17/Jan/2006

Thanks for your further email.

As stated in my previous email, the Piccadilly train involved on 7 July was the westbound train no 331. The initial reports that we received immediately at the time were incorrect and have now been subsequently updated.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. Please get in touch if I can be of any further help.

Yours sincerely

Fola Olafare
Customer Service Centre

Anonymous said...

I can't seem to post the following information anywhere else: could you please pass it on? Thanks...

The BBC has a whole load of (new?) information on this that I've not seen elsewhere - see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/
hi/uk/05/london_blasts/
what_happened/
html/default.stm for animations, pictures, etc. also, BBC Online Radio has "7th July Bombings - Jon Gaunt - Jon Gaunt live on BBC LONDON 94.9 as London came under attack" - this is the full 3hr programme, starting at 9am, reports and loads of eyewitness phone-ins from across London - start at 9.17am - well worth a listen... http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/
genres/factual/aod.shtml?london/jongaunt_bombings

Bridget Dunne said...

Rachel of North London made the following comment on the Alex Cox forum:

"There is indeed confusion about the number of the train. Tom and Ray think it was train 311 and have said so. TFL say it is 331. There was however one train, not two that was bombed. How do I know? Because every single passenger that has joined KCU has similar accounts and not one person reports being on an eastbound Piccadilly line train. If the call was going out through my writing for ‘’ were you on the bombed Piccadilly line train?’’ and there were TWO – people would be reporting different stories. And not only that, but by now someone would have said, hang on, I was going Russell Square to KX – not the other way round – and I was bombed too. Not a squeak. One train. Two number, much confusion, so why is this?

TFL are getting back to me, the driver and the station manager all think 311
– but there was widespread confusion about the trains as many of them were taken out of service due to the fire at Cali Road. So is it confusion? Very likely, and I will report more as I hear back on my blog".

After she deleted all her comments on the Cox forum, I checked her blog to see if indeed she would post the train number when TFL replied. The following is our exchange:

Rachel
can I ask, which bombed train? Have TFL got back to you yet re: train 311 or 331? Just to remind you that on the Alex Cox forum (which has been hacked btw) you wrote that you would post TFL's answer to your query here on your blog.
Thanks

Rachel said...

The group is for anyone on the bombed Piccadilly line train that was travelling from Kings Cross to Russell Square. We know who we are. Only one train was bombed on the Piccadilly line. There is currently some confusion regarding its number. I have had clarification about the number of the train but I have not entered into further correspondence about the number of the train nor am I going to post further details here because that will draw me back into endless conversations with people who think there were 2 trains, and I am sick of doing that.

I can only assume that TFL has answered Rachel's query with the 331 train number.

Numeral said...

Racel said:
"The worried some other passengers had that they heard another train coming up behind them ie Jacqui Head's account - was the Northern line, heard through a gap in the wall of the tunnel passing us as we were all stuck underground."

It is quite possible that it was a Northern line train. But how do you know that it was?