Smoke Underground (1987)

Picture: Shutterstock
Written by:

Saturday, 18 November 2017

1987 -

It was around half past seven in the evening of the 18th of November in 1987, when a small and supposedly harmless match fell on the ground under a wooden escalator. Some passenger had probably used it to light a cigarette on his way out of the tube station. Unfortunately, this little event turned into a catastrophic day for London. On that day, 31 people died and another 100 were injured in a fire at King's Cross, London's busiest tube station.

Across King's Cross
The little fire on the escalator was at first thought to be harmless and controllable. But then the fireball exploded and made its way across the station. Many travellers found ways to escape, but some of them weren't so lucky. It took 150 firefighters to completely extinguish the fire, which they managed around 1.46am the following morning. Many people were surprised to find the undestroyed part of the station to be open the next day.

New measures
After the horrific fire, new regulations concerning safety were being carried out and smoking became completely forbidden in the stations. One of the new measures was the replacement of all wooden escalators for metal ones.

360 trivial fact
London has a huge network of tube stations and transports thousands of passengers, but there are some existing stations you will never reach with the Underground; the so-called 'ghost stations'. There are 49 of these cancelled, abandoned platforms spread across London. Not a place to go wandering at night.


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