The 7/7 rescue operation was hampered by problems that were identified but not tackled after the King’s Cross fire 18 years earlier, an inquest has heard.
Some of the recommendations in Sir Desmond Fennell’s report into the 1987 tragedy have still not been implemented nearly six years after the 2005 terrorist attacks, the hearing was told.
In particular, the radio system used by London Underground staff remains not fully compatible with that used by the emergency services.
Sir Desmond’s report into the November 18 1987 fire at King’s Cross Underground station, which killed 31 people, highlighted serious concerns about communications on the Tube.
The inquest into the July 7 2005 attacks on London has heard that radio problems meant rescuers battling to save lives on bombed Underground trains could not pass information and requests for more help back to the surface.
Hugo Keith QC, counsel to the inquest, noted: “Some of the things that went wrong on 7/7 were direct reflections of issues identified by Fennell which had not been corrected or addressed fully by the time of July 7.”
Geoff Dunmore, London Underground’s operational security manager, admitted that relaying information from the Tube trains made the emergency response to the attacks more difficult. “The root causes of a lot of the problems was the fact that we couldn’t get communication directly from the trains to the outside world, including our own controls,” he said.
He said the introduction of a new radio system for London Underground staff, known as Connect, since the 2005 bombings, had addressed this issue.
“Of course with these type of incidents you can never guarantee that a communications system will stand up totally but it is a lot more resilient than anything we’ve had previously,” he said.
Mr Dunmore also insisted that London Underground learned lessons from the King’s Cross fire before the July 7 attacks, adding: “If you consider for a moment the overall response to July 7, a lot of what we had in place in terms of emergency planning and training and things like rendezvous points is a direct outcome of Fennell.”