It’s that time of the week again, gang! I know, it comes round so quickly, doesn’t it? Shockingly, we’re halfway through the series. Don’t be sad – that means there’s three more episodes to go! THREE WHOLE HOURS! There, I bet you feel better now, don’t you? Right. This episode is all about emergencies. If there isn’t at least one dramatic tunnel rescue I’ll be bitterly disappointed.
1:34: We’re introduced to Dylan Glenister, a train driver who works on the Piccadilly line. He really loves his work.“It’s nice to be part of the bigger picture of the underground,” he says, actually quite sweetly.
3:00: Another train driver is slightly less effusive. “I’ve been doing it quite a while now. Must be about 31 years. I’ve seen quite a few things.” A pause. I feel uncomfortable.
4:11: Here’s some train driver lingo for you: a “one under” is, well, exactly what it sounds like – some one under a train. I think I know where this is going, but I wish I didn’t.
4:49: We’re with an emergency response unit, who are checking their kit. “Two body bags. Let’s hope we don’t need them both today.” NO! Don’t say that! Can you say that? Surely that’s just asking for several unders?
5:38: Oh no. Ominous music. I think I know what…
5:45: Yep. Sure enough, there’s a one under on the northbound Northern line. I’m not going to lie to you – the next few minutes aren’t particularly cheerful.
11:37: Rush hour at Oxford Circus. Cue lots of talk about how people seem to lose it when they go underground. Police officer Kim says: “As soon as people walk in the underground they go a bit crazy. I’m always on my guard because you never know what people might do to you.” Steady on, love. We’re not Morlocks.
14:07: Apparently tube staff are frequently assaulted. The incident control centre (or somewhere will an equally silly name) is co-ordinating a response to someone being punched in the face. They’re looking for a chap with a tattoo of “a face with snarling teeth” on his chest. I can’t be the only one wondering how they know that, can I?
17:50: Enough about police officers – it’s the Notting Hill carnival! Woo!
20:14: Wait, no, we’re still with the police. They stop and search some yoofs at Kings Cross. They’re surprisingly understanding, but also quite angry. I think? I’m not entirely sure because they’re talking very fast and saying “Do you know what I mean?” a lot, which generally indicates no one knows what they mean.
22:35: We meet Andy George, “Duty Reliability Manager” at Notting Hill station. “Sometimes the service is too good,” Andy explains. Ohhhh, that’s the problem!
25:39: Oh look! Tube boss Howard Collins has come to help out, directing the hordes. How noble of him.
29:03: He proves he’s a true man of the people by sympathising with a guy having trouble putting on his shoes: “They’re always tricky to put on when you’ve had a few.”
30:12: Finally, some action! People are dragged off trains and sat on by police. I’m not entirely sure why but I’m sure there’s a very good reason for it.
33:30: We meet the fascinating Tim Pinn, customer service assistant at Warwick Avenue. He says his role “to help people connect”. I don’t think he’s talking about the trains…?
34:40: No, he’s definitely not talking about the trains. He’s getting all spiritual. “People change their point of reference once they’re underground,” he says. “There’s nothing natural. Sometimes the only natural thing someone sees all day is the potted plant in the office or the lettuce in their salad. Their forget how to behave as social creatures.” How dare he! The tube brings out the best in all of us. It’s an oasis, free of small talk and mundane societal obligations.
38 37: FOX ON TRACK! This is my kind of emergency.
38:46: Oh wait, I misunderstood: it’s dead. Not so much my kind of emergency.
43:00: Tim again. “I might be the first person people talk to in the morning,” he says. As much as I love Tim, I think that might be the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard.
44:17: We’re back with Dylan Glenister. He’s raving about the sunsets on the Piccadilly line, aka “the Pic”. Man, he really loves the Piccadilly line. Apparently the Metropolitan is “a bit brash”, Central is a “probably a librarian”. But the Pic! “If it was a mate of yours, he would be the one that doesn’t say a lot, he’s very cool, but when the shit hits the fan he pulls it out the bag.” Right. He then admires a passing train. “Look at the face,” he says, “It smiles at you! They’re cute, streamlined. Classy without trying.” Of all the ways to describe the London underground, “classy without trying” is not one we’d come up with.
46:40: Oh dear, another one under, this time southbound at Waterloo. A rather sad ten minutes follows, when an emergency response team has to clean up. Not really a whole lot to make fun of.
57:20: After an emotionally fraught episode, I think it’s time to finish the liveblog with the lovely Anne O’Grady, an Irish train driver who does the sign of the cross when she goes past graveyards and who advises her passengers to go for tea and a biscuit. I think I will, Anne. I think I will.