7/7 tube driver asked for phones as radio failed

A Tube driver asked passengers if their mobile phones were working when his radio failed after his train was struck by one of the July 7 bombers, it emerged today.

Timothy Batkin said he felt the shockwave when suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer detonated his bomb on an eastbound circle line train, killing seven people near Aldgate station.



The London Underground employee told the inquests for the 52 people who died in the 2005 atrocities that the train came to a sudden halt as a passenger alarm was pulled.



But when he tried to make a mayday call to his line controller he found the radio was not working and he did not think to use a second tunnel telephone.



Mr Batkin eventually raised the alarm by calling a colleague at Edgware Road using his own mobile phone before helping to evacuate up to 500 passengers.



Speaking at the Royal Courts of Justice today, Mr Batkin said the explosion sounded like a "loud thud" and was quickly followed by the sound of passengers crying for help.



He said: "The passengers on the train, I could hear crying for help. It was a chilling, haunting cry for help. Something that still makes my blood run cold when I think about hearing it.



"It made me think that a problem with the train is not necessarily my priority. I should maybe start thinking about what is happening to the people that need help on the train."



Hugo Keith QC, counsel for the inquests, said Mr Batkin was "no doubt extremely concerned" that he was unable to make an emergency call via the train radio.



Mr Batkin replied: "At this point I had the cab door between the driver's cab and passenger saloon open.



"I remember asking the passengers that were right behind me whether anybody had a mobile phone signal on their phone."



The inquest heard Mr Batkin touched together two copper wires running along the Tube tunnel wall to shut off the power so passengers could walk to Aldgate safely.



The wires could also be attached to a telephone carried in every driver's cab and used to contact the line controller, but he did not do this.



Mr Batkin said he had not been trained in what kind of information to give to senior colleagues in a suspected bombing or similar emergency.



He said the public announcement system on the train was probably broken by the explosion and he walked along the carriages telling people to get off at the rear.



The Tube driver added that although there was a first aid kit in the cab, he did not know how to use it.



Mr Batkin said he asked his colleague to announce a "code red", stopping all the trains in the area as he feared another moving train could re-energise the track.



Asked when he realised there had been an explosion, he said: "I think it was when the first passengers who made their way towards the front of train, between the train and the tunnel wall.



"When they reached me I could see their faces were blackened with soot and dirt and bloodied. And their clothes were torn and shredded."













The inquest heard Mr Batkin demonstrated to one angry passenger that the power was off by placing his foot on the third rail as they stood at the back of the train.

Questioned by John Taylor, the father of Carrie Taylor who died on the train, the driver said he had undergone six months of training, most of it about procedures and paperwork.



Lady Justice Hallett told him: "Whatever criticisms are made of the system or anybody else, you personally acted with great presence of mind and courage to make sure that all your passengers who could walk did get off that train and I am sure they are extremely grateful to you."



Ayo Puddicombe, the duty station manager at Edgware Road who answered Mr Batkin's phone call, said the driver sounded "quite calm in the circumstances".



In a statement, she said: "He was using his mobile phone and he said there had been an explosion on his train and there were injured people and passengers trying to get off."



The inquest heard other drivers at the Edgware Road depot ran from the canteen and from rest rooms down to the platform when they heard there had been an explosion.



Mrs Puddicombe said she was left gathering first aid equipment and water while answering a telephone that was ringing "non stop" as worried relatives called.













The inquest heard Mr Batkin demonstrated to one angry passenger that the power was off by placing his foot on the third rail as they stood at the back of the train.

Questioned by John Taylor, the father of Carrie Taylor who died on the train, the driver said he had undergone six months of training, most of it about procedures and paperwork.



Lady Justice Hallett told him: "Whatever criticisms are made of the system or anybody else, you personally acted with great presence of mind and courage to make sure that all your passengers who could walk did get off that train and I am sure they are extremely grateful to you."



Ayo Puddicombe, the duty station manager at Edgware Road who answered Mr Batkin's phone call, said the driver sounded "quite calm in the circumstances".



In a statement, she said: "He was using his mobile phone and he said there had been an explosion on his train and there were injured people and passengers trying to get off."



The inquest heard other drivers at the Edgware Road depot ran from the canteen and from rest rooms down to the platform when they heard there had been an explosion.



Mrs Puddicombe said she was left gathering first aid equipment and water while answering a telephone that was ringing "non stop" as worried relatives called.

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