…please tell a member of staff. Sure, we’ve all heard the announcement, but do you have any idea what happens next? I found out this evening, as the train pulled into Queenstown Road, and the guard came through and started asking people about a bag that was sitting by one of the seats. It turned out that someone had noticed it had been left by a passenger who got off at Clapham Junction and bravely reported it – instead of doing what everyone else had probably done and ignored it, hoping it would vanish and preferably not in a puff of smoke.
What didn’t happen next was a mass evacuation of the train, followed by the sealing off of Queenstown Road station and a controlled explosion. Instead what happened was that the guard picked the bag up and after talking to the people who were sitting near it, opened it up and had a bit of a rummage around. As this revealed no wires, ticking clocks, semtex, bags of flour and/or big black round things with a burning fuse labelled ‘bomb’, he concluded it was safe and took it off with him and the train resumed its journey.
This is … well, sensible, I suppose. I guess al Quaeda could bring London to its knees just by leaving a bunch of empty rucksacks around if every bag triggered a full scale security alert. And with the advent of suicide bombers I suppose it’s more the attended rucksacks we should be worrying about but still, I wonder if we’d have been so cavalier (because everyone sat there quite calmly and watched the fun) had this all happened yesterday?