When a man with a rucksack began reading what appeared to be excerpts from the Old Testament, train passengers began to get frightened. This caused hundreds of thousands of commuters to experience major travel disruptions and delays during rush hour on Monday morning in London.
When the train stopped at a red light outside the south-west London rail station, a “doomsday preacher” began reading. The incident, which took place at about 8:30 am just outside Wimbledon station on a South Western Railway train running from Shepperton to Waterloo, forced Network Rail to switch off power in the area, causing long delays.
“He was quite well spoken and calm,” said Ian O’Sullivan, a witness, and fellow train passenger. “He said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to talk to you about something and that something is the word of the Lord, Jesus Christ. He’s here to heal your sins. The Bible tells you that homosexuality is a sin and sex before marriage is a sin. You need to repent.’” Other witnesses also said that the man talked about “doomsday” and the “afterlife.”
@Jackie_Travel passengers on south western train waiting to be evacuated outside Wimbledon. Not sure why.
— Annie Amos (@uAnamos) October 2, 2017
Although O’Sullivan didn’t find the “doomsday preacher” to be any sort of a threat, others apparently did. “It suddenly became a Chinese whisper and [there was] panic,” he said. “It was quite a full train, but the area around him was suddenly quite empty.”
“We could hear a woman [outside] saying there’s a man and he’s going to kill everybody,” he said. “But everybody in the carriage said he never said that.”
He said the guard came to the carriage, spoke to the now “sheepish” man and searched his bag, but found only a water flask and books.
“The guard did a brilliant job of trying to keep things under control,” O’Sullivan said. “He established pretty quickly that there wasn’t a threat.” -The Guardian
Many evacuated the train out of fear, after prying open the doors, and the guard had to allegedly tell people not to touch the rails while standing on the tracks or they could die.
What a journey – passengers on the front coach evacuated the train after mishearing someone and thinking he was a terrorist. #Wimbledon
— Jess (@Styladelica) October 2, 2017
No one knows what happened to the “doomsday preacher,” however. He seems to have vanished in the melee after causing hours long delays.