Late for work - but with a good excuse

By Richard Burton
May 18, 2009

The day began a little later than usual for some of us - because a woman almost gave birth on a train.

Passengers travelling on the Central Line into the City were stuck for about 20 minutes as the driver gave constant updates. But left out the best bits.

After first explaining there appeared to be a door problem with the train in front at St Paul's Station, he then announced the unexpected labour.

But from then on, his minute-by-minute "Customer updates" included everything from how the train was being cleared, how he could see the driver ushering people off, how the platform was now dangerously crowded, how it was being cleared, how we would be technically jumping a red light and "proceeding at 10kph or less", how only the first carriage would reach the platform as the other train was still there and how the driver would have to open the doors "manually from the outside" to let us out, single-file.

But no news of mother and baby.

It was only as I boarded the excalator for the exit that I found out. There, riding alongside me on the next one, strapped to a stretcher and screaming the place down, was mum-to-be.

The time it took to move her from the platform suggested either the ambulance had been stuck in rush-hour traffic or they'd expected a platform birth.

Eiher way, bet she calls it Paul.


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