Suicide is always a terrible tragedy that hurts everyone it touches, in one way or another. Even so, some people view the end of their life as a grandiose final act, and insist on making a spectacle out of it. As such, certain famous locations have a reputation of attracting a statistically unreasonable amount of suicides. Such locations include…
London Underground is perhaps the most famous public transit system in the world. “The Tube”, as it is commonly known, has been operational since the 19th Century. It covers an impressive 270 stations with its 11 lines and 250 miles (402 kilometres) of track.
It is also one of the most likely places in the world to witness a suicide.
As the Underground is readily accessible from almost everywhere in London, its fast, heavy trains have become popular instruments of self-destruction among the more desperate city dwellers. People jump in front of oncoming trains on a weekly basis. The most popular suicide station is King’s Cross St. Pancras, while the Northern Line takes home the “line with most jumpers” prize (145 deaths between 2001 and 2011).
Tube suicide is common enough that these tragedies have become just another routine annoyance for the poor Underground staff. Delays caused by jumpers are called with code names such as “passenger action” or “one under”. The water drain openings many stations’ tracks feature are commonly called suicide pits, because the jumpers who fall in them have a better chance for survival.
As popular as the Underground method is, it is possibly the least dignified way to commit suicide in existence. It is surprisingly ineffective (only 40% of jumpers die), and survivors will be charged with a number of misdemeanors with passive aggressive names such as “obstruction of trains with intent”. Successful jumpers are not treated any better: Their mangled remains will be collected by the disgruntled staff and unceremoniously stuffed in a cleaning cupboard until the authorities arrive.