Attacks on the London Underground

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This is a list of deliberate attacks on the infrastructure, staff or passengers of the London Underground that have caused considerable damage, injury or death.

1883 Praed Street and Charing Cross bombings[edit]

On 30 October 1883 a bomb exploded on an Inner Circle train near Paddington (Praed Street) station. The bomb damaged the train it was on and a passing train along with part of the station and the signal box. Sixty-two passengers were injured.[1]

At the same time a bomb exploded in the tunnel between Charing Cross (now Embankment) and Westminster stations. No trains were damaged or passengers hurt.[1]

1885 Gower Street bombing[edit]

In January 1885 a bomb exploded on a Metropolitan line train at Gower Street (now Euston Square) station.

1897 Aldersgate bombing[edit]

A bomb left by an anarchist group on a Metropolitan Railway train exploded at Aldersgate Street station (now Barbican) on 26 April 1897.[2] Sixty people were injured, ten seriously, but the only fatality was Harry Pitts (born in 1861 in Devon) who died from his injuries. At the inquest into Pitts' death, the jury found that he had been killed "by a bomb, or some other explosive, maliciously placed in the carriage by some unknown person or persons". A verdict of "wilful murder" was recorded.[3]

1913 Westbourne Park bombing[edit]

In February 1913 a bomb – possibly planted by the Suffragettes – was discovered at Westbourne Park station.

IRA attacks[edit]

The Provisional Irish Republican Army, is an Irish Republican paramilitary organisation which, until the Belfast Agreement, sought to end Northern Ireland's status within the United Kingdom and bring about a United Ireland through armed force. On a number of occasions the group attacked the London Underground.

1939 attacks[edit]

Bombs planted by the original Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded in the left luggage offices at Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square stations on 3 February 1939.

On 26 July, bombs exploded at King's Cross and Victoria stations. In King's Cross, one man was killed and two wounded, whereas in Victoria five were injured.

1973 attacks[edit]

On 23 August 1973, a bomb was found in an abandoned bag in Baker Street station ticket hall. The bomb was defused. A week later another bomb was found by a member of staff at the same station and was also defused. It was planted by the Provisional IRA.

On 26 December 1973 a bomb was detonated in a telephone kiosk in the booking hall at Sloane Square station. Nobody was injured.

1975 attacks[edit]

On 9 October, a bomb detonated just outside Green Park tube station, killing one and injuring 20 people.

1976 attacks[edit]

On 13 February a bomb weighing 30 pounds (14 kg) was found in a small case at Oxford Circus station and was defused.[4]

On 4 March, a 10 pounds (4.5 kg) bomb was exploded on an empty train at Cannon Street station, injuring eight people in a passing train.

On 15 March an IRA bomb exploded on a Metropolitan line train at West Ham station, on the Hammersmith & City section of the line. The bomber, Vincent Donnelly, possibly took the wrong train and attempted to return to his destination. However, the bomb detonated prior to reaching the City of London. Donnelly shot Peter Chalk, a Post Office engineer, and shot and killed the train's driver Julius Stephen, who had attempted to catch the perpetrator. Donnelly then shot himself, but survived and was apprehended by police.[5]

On 16 March an empty train was severely damaged by a bomb at Wood Green station. The train was about to pick up fans from an Arsenal football match, but the bomb detonated prior to arriving at the station, injuring one passenger standing on the platform. Three men were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for this attack.[6]

1991 attacks[edit]

On 29 August three incendiary devices were found under a seat at Hammersmith tube station depot.[7]

On 23 December two IRA bombs exploded, one on a train at Harrow-on-the-Hill station causing no injuries, and a smaller one on a train at Neasden depot.

1992 attacks[edit]

In 1992 the IRA placed incendiary devices on several trains. At Elephant & Castle station and Neasden station devices were found and defused. One device went off at Barking station.

On 9 October, a small bomb was planted under a car at the Arnos Grove tube station car park. No-one was injured.

On 9 December, a van bomb partially detonated at the car park of Woodside Park tube station. No-one was injured but it caused evacuations and disruptions.

1993 attacks[edit]

A device exploded at an underground passageway at South Kensington tube station on 3 February 1993.

On 20 December, a device exploded in a litter bin in Northfields tube station.

On 21 December, coded bomb warnings from the IRA resulted in a paralysed London Underground system, as tens of thousands were evacuated from 100 tube stations during the morning rush hour.

2005 terrorist bomb attacks[edit]

In 2005 two groups of Islamist extremists attacked a number of underground lines and bus routes in London.

7 July[edit]

On 7 July 2005, bombs exploded on Underground trains between Aldgate and Liverpool Street stations, Russell Square and King's Cross St. Pancras stations and Edgware Road and Paddington stations. A double-decker bus at Tavistock Square was also destroyed. The bombs were detonated by four homegrown terrorist suicide bombers. The explosions killed 52 people and resulted in over 700 injuries.

21 July[edit]

Four more attacks, unconnected with those on 7 July, were attempted on 21 July 2005 at Shepherd's Bush, Warren Street and Oval stations, as well as on a bus in Shoreditch. In these incidents, each bomb detonator fired, but did not ignite the main explosive charge. No injuries occurred as a result of this event.

20 October 2016 attempted bombing[edit]

Police conducted a controlled explosion on a "viable device" at North Greenwich tube station, which multiple sources report was placed to "create mass panic or harm". Major delays affected the Jubilee line and several stations were closed for hours, while Met Police officers were seen patrolling the Emirates Air Line. The Met Police anti-terrorism unit investigated the incident, then suggesting that the incident might be linked to domestic or international terrorism. No injuries or deaths were incurred, since there was no explosion. One source suggested that the suspicious item found on the train was a "device" and comprised a "bag full of wires and potential explosives".

On 21 October 2016, counter-terrorism officers tasered and arrested a "dangerous suspect" in relation to what they called a "terror plot". He was later described as being "obsessed" with the Koran and had visited several mosques in Turkey and Tunisia, suggesting he acted under Islamist motivations. On 3 May 2017, Damon Smith, aged 20, was convicted of making or possessing an explosive substance with intent to endanger life, despite his claims that he had intended only to commit a hoax and for the device not to be dangerous.

15 September 2017 Parsons Green Bombing[edit]

On 15 September 2017, an improvised explosive was detonated at the Parsons Green tube station at around 8:20 am. The homemade bomb produced what witnesses called a "wall of fire", resulting in 22 injuries, primarily burns. The British Transport Police are calling the incident a terrorist attack and are currently leading an investigation involving "hundreds of detectives".


  1. ^ a b Day, John R.; Reed, John (2010) [1963]. The Story of London's Underground (11th ed.). Capital Transport. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-85414-341-9. 
  2. ^ "The Explosion on the Metropolitan Railway". The Times (35189). 28 April 1897. p. 12. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  3. ^ "The Explosion at Aldersgate-Street Station". The Times (35212). 25 May 1897. p. 15. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  4. ^ Borrell, Clive; Parker, Robert (14 February 1976). "20 lb bomb defused in rush hour at London Tube station". The Times (59628). p. 1. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  5. ^ "On This Day: 15 March 1976: Tube driver shot dead". BBC News. 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2007. 
  6. ^ Croome, Desmond F.; Jackson, Alan J. (1993). Rails Through the Clay (2nd ed.). Capital Transport Publishing. p. 537. ISBN 1-85414-151-1. 
  7. ^ "Terrorist Incidents". Hansard. 4 March 1996. Written Answers cc51–62W. Retrieved 9 May 2016.