Index 01 - Aldgate Station
Official version of events
The only explosion was on a Circle Line train, number 204, travelling towards the station, approximately 150 yards into the tunnel from Liverpool Street.
Was there an additional explosion either on the platform, or on a train standing at, or near, the platform, or possibly both?
Whilst the majority of the exhibits listed below are capable of being read as referring to the explosion in the official version of events many of them point strongly to another incident or incidents having occurred. This is particularly so when it is borne in mind that many passengers on train 204, such as WPC Lizzie Kenworthy, have spoken of the considerable period of time that passed before help arrived and they were able to evacuate the train. Yet:-
- James Mawson of the Financial Times (A2) states that it took 10 minutes for all passengers to be evacuated (from the station) and:-
- Louise (A6) says “soon people started running up the stairs towards me”.
- Paramedic Craig Cassidy (A8a) apparently saw people exiting the station covered in soot, “Just before 9am”.
- The article from 'Transport for London' (A10) indicates that more than 100 engineers worked around the clock for 8 days to repair the station!! Would such extensive damage have been caused by an explosion on an approaching train several hundred yards away?
There appears little doubt that something happened at or very close to Aldgate. Whether this was an explosion on a Metropolitan line train, leaving the station, that is referred to in the related folder (supra) or something else in addition is not altogether clear.
Closed down: Aldgate tube station shut down after an explosion.
Source: The Guardian
Aldgate underground station in East London was rocked by a loud explosion. || I saw from my window overlooking the concourse dozens of people walking and running from the platform, one with their coat smouldering. || After the explosion and initial rush of people everything calmed down; it took about 10 minutes for all the passengers to be evacuated. Most were walking, appearing to be confused but unharmed.
Source: The Times
"Another minute at Aldgate and who knows what would have happened..."
Source: BBC News
I work in the central business district of London which, at the moment, has a heavy cloud hanging over it. I have lived in London now for almost 4 years and we always assumed this was going to happen, but nothing can prepare you for the shock. I got off my first train into Tower Hill and found that the Underground station that I had to catch was closed. They said it was a power failure, but it became obvious shortly after when we heard all the sirens descending on the area. I was about to walk around the corner to Aldgate to catch the a bus rest of the way to work, but for some reason I decided not to and proceeded on foot in another direction. There is a lot to be said for gut instinct for it was at that moment of hesitation that the bomb had exploded at Aldgate station and there was chaos out in the street. I can't very well describe how it feels to see the wounded and hear about the strikes so close to me, but it is first a feeling of sadness, tears, and frustration at not being able to help in any way. Then comes the feeling of anger. For the group that claimed responsibility say they are proud to spread 'fear and terror', I can safely say that prominent emotions I have at the moment are anger and dismay. Violence begets violence, we all know that reality - so this erratic killing is nonsensical and does not further their cause in any respect - if anything, it sets it back even further. Now, outside, it feels that everyone is keeping as calm as possible, trying to find a way home and letting the authorities do their work. Last, but not least, the emergency services and all the authorities are doing an outstanding job and are a credit to this great city. As an Australian, I'm not going to pack it in and come home just yet (it'll be soon Mum, I promise), if anything it strengthens the bond I have with this city. I want to express by best wishes to all the expats over here, and I pray that everyone is okay.
I work in the City area of London, less than one mile from the Aldgate bomb blasts. When one person in the office proclaimed that there had been an explosion at Liverpool St I dismissed it out of hand, aligning myself with the official position at the time - that an electrical fault had caused an explosion. Then again, when the first airplane hit the Twin Towers, I thought that was an accident, too.
By the time reports filtered through the office that there had been several more blasts in the London area, the official position had changed. Most people had stopped working and were glued to the internet, monitoring the situation and filling in the blanks left by the media and authorities amongst themselves.
One of my co-workers could not get through to his girlfriend as his mobile network was either down or congested. I offered my mobile - which I had used to successfully contact my very concerned family and friends back home in Australia - but he was still not successful. This co-worker’s anxiety was heightened by his girlfriend’s work proximity to Aldgate. Two hours must have past before he got word from her. I was very relieved for him.
Our office was evacuated before the regular close of business. I was not sure whether I would have to walk the 8 miles (about 13 kms) home due to lack of public transport – a result, or course, of the bombings. To Transport for London’s credit, overland train lines were in place by mid-afternoon. You would be right to think that it was in the back of my mind that trains may not be the safest place to be on this day. But I, like millions of other Londoners, got on with the business of getting home to loved ones. I wait to see what the new day brings.
Source: The Age
A police officer at the scene said: "I was first on the scene at the explosion at Aldgate all of which has now been evacuated. I was pulling people out of the bus. There are definitely some dead."
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Louise is a homeless woman who sleeps at Aldgate tube station every night.
“I was lying there asleep when I was woken by the crashing noise of what could only have been a bomb. Then there was a frightening silence that went on for about five minutes before the screaming started. Soon people started running up the stairs towards me from the platform.
“It was like a scene from a disaster film with smoke smelling of chemicals billowing from below and people, mostly in suits, elbowing each other out of the way, literally trampling each other to get out. They were shouting ‘get out of my way’, and ‘another one is going to go off’, and coming up from the platform with blood and soot over their faces. Nobody was helping each other, the surival instinct was too strong I suppose. I will never travel on the tube again.”
Source: The Times
To be added.
(p 201 – 202)
In action at Aldgate
Just before 9am, Poplar Paramedic Craig Cassidy was travelling to a routine call in Liverpool Street when he came across the Aldgate blast.
“I could see people pouring out of Aldgate station covered in soot,” recounted Craig. “At this stage I didn’t know what was going on, but spotted the fire brigade and went to ask if I could help."
Written submissions from organisations London Ambulance Service
“They told me there had been some kind of explosion and that people were trapped in the train. After a few minutes I was joined by a motorcycle paramedic and several firemen, and we made our way down to the tunnel unsure what to expect.
“Once in the carriage my training kicked in immediately. There were about 15 people in different conditions. A few were screaming and it was hard to calm them down because they had been deafened by the explosion, but it was the quiet ones we needed to treat first. We each took a side of the train and began to assess each person, establishing who was dead and assessing the extent of others’ injuries so that we could prioritise them for treatment.”
Craig continued: “I treated several patients all of whom had traumatic injuries such as serious burns, amputations and blast injuries before being joined by a HEMS doctor who decided which patients should be taken to the ambulances first.
“Once all the injured were removed, the doctor and I checked again to confirm that all
who were left were dead.
“As we were about to leave I realised I’d lost my stethoscope. My wife had bought it for me and I knew she would be upset if I lost it so I stayed behind to look for it.
“Afterwards I realised this meant I was the last person alive off the train.”
Craig left the eerie silence of the carriage and surfaced to the noise of sirens and crying outside the station. In no time at all he was on his way to the incident at King’s Cross where he set about treating patients at the roadside.
Steve Jones, a motorcycle paramedic from Waterloo, was one of the few ambulance staff to venture into the Tube tunnels to search for casualties.
Working alongside Craig Cassidy, he coordinated getting the live patients on to stretchers from the blast at Aldgate so they could be treated on the surface.
“We had to work out who we could help and who we couldn’t,” explained Steve. “There was such calm, a sense of urgency but no panic, not even from the patients.”
Steve was sent on to Tavistock Square, and then on to Russell Square where he found 50 to 60 injured people walking up the tunnel to escape.
“I came back up and helped treat the injured. Great Ormond Street had sent their doctors out and off-duty people turned up as well.”
He said: “All the rescue workers worked well together. We saved people who would definitely have died.
“I am really proud of my colleagues.”
Source: London Ambulance Service Written Submissions [PDF]
Kabin Chibber, 24, who works in the Dow Jones building above Aldgate station, said the whole structure shook with the impact. "People were coming out covered in black soot, blood and a mixture of grease," she said. "There were people lying at the side of the station on plastic sheeting."
Source: Washington Post
"Since police handed the station back to LU eight days ago, more than 100 LU and Metronet engineers have been working 24 hours a day.
Repairs to damaged communications, signalling and power cables were completed on Friday and test trains ran over the weekend as the station and line passed rigorous safety checks in time for the first services to run from 5.30am."
Source: Transport For London