What the Guardian edited out: Last week saw long queues build up at some of London’s busiest stations as Network Rail and Southeastern Trains tested their station management plans to see if they would cope with the Olympics. Many passengers were left confused and disgruntled by the ‘crowd control’ measures that were put in place. There were reports of lack of communication, over-crowding, and missed trains as commuters’ normal routes to and from these stations were disrupted and some people were forced to queue for up to 30 minutes. Drills and rehearsals are undoubtedly annoying and inconvenient for those working in or using the buildings where they take place. But the evidence shows that such preparations can be critically important if any major emergency develops. This is particularly relevant given the need to ensure that London’s stations are not just prevented from becoming overcrowded but can also be evacuated should the need to do so arise. For example, regular fire drills were one of the main changes introduced after the World Trade Centre was attacked in 1993. The evacuation during 9/11 was significantly faster than in 1993, which saved hundreds if not thousands of lives.
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