Taking the subway can be a stressful experience at the best of times with huge crowds, loud queues and enclosed spaces all contributing to a claustrophobic person’s worst nightmare.
Panic attacks on particularly busy lines are not uncommon and with the tube serving as the rallying point for all sorts of Londoners, tension can sometimes arise when someone is acting strangely.
Londoners have shared their “scariest tube experiences” with many going just to show the paranoia the tube can make people feel, while others are case studies for why some people prefer to avoid the transport system altogether.
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Posting to the London Reddit page, the original poster asked, “What was your scariest tube experience (supernatural or not)?”
The poster added two of their own experiences, one of which is something any Londoner can relate to.
“A man walked up and threw his bag in the middle of the pitch by the tube doors and stood far from it. I mean, I usually see people leaning their bags against the wall, so what he did made the backpack look suspicious.
“Then he started looking up and down in the carriage several times. A girl next to me stopped reading, continued to observe him and the backpack, and got off at the next stop.
“Body language tells me it wasn’t her stop from getting out yet because she hesitated as the doors opened before getting out.”
Indeed, many commentators had similar stories, recalling several terror attacks, most notably the 7/7 bombing that still leaves many on London’s public transport system with great fear.
Often these moments of panic are resolved much to the relief of everyone in the carriage.
A commentator shared a similar experience, but with a rather light-hearted conclusion: “I have a great, this story is set a few weeks after a terror attack…
“I’m going from Hamley’s to China Town and at one stop a guy gets in with quite a few shopping bags, then leaves a few stops later with his bags except for a small plain white bag.
A man standing across from me peers into the bag, making eye contact with me.
“Then he gasps and turns white, right now I’m sweating. This man then moves closer as I count down until the doors open so I can sprint off the carriage.
“While I’m getting ready to run, he stands next to me and says… ‘That poor man forgot his candle!’
“Never been so relieved in my life.”
Fears of attacks aren’t always unfounded, though, as another commentator shared their experience of a harrowing event at Green Park station that made national headlines.
In what must be every Londoner’s real nightmare, the commentator got caught up in a violent incident on the anniversary line.
“On one of my first subway rides after restrictions were eased in July, I was evacuated from Green Park station by armed police.
“It was this guy – https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/london-underground-tube-stabbing-jubilee-line-b1881550.html . I didn’t see him, but I think he was on my train. The train had been waiting on the platform for ages, then the lights went out and TfL personnel and armed police yelled at us to leave immediately.”
The link leads to an article about a knife attack that took place last July in which a man with a foot-length machete chased people through the tube carriages.
Much of the fear centered around the tube seems to be a fear of attack if the Reddit thread is anything to go by, so getting caught up in the middle of an actual incident must have been utterly terrifying.
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Responding to other concerned commentators, the redditor said: “I was definitely shocked at the time – I got off the station and didn’t look back. Luckily it was a warm evening to walk home. Maybe it’s crazy, but I still do a double take when I’m in Green Park.”
It is important to remind people that while violent crimes and even terrorist attacks do take place on London’s public transport system, it is extremely rare and very unlikely that the vast majority of people will ever be affected.
Nevertheless, incidents like the one in Green Park will continue to arouse fear and paranoia in many tuber goers.
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