Train ride to danger

It was a warm summer evening, back in the early 60’s. My sister and I boarded an almost empty train. A ‘semi fast’ train, which meant that it stopped at selected stations along the route, and not all of them. We were later to become very glad that it wasn’t a ‘fast’ train, which didn’t stop until London Bridge. That would have been an hour with no stops.

Train compartment

We chose one of those small, compartments, the sort that have just one seat either side, exactly like this one. Out of the rush hour, it wasn’t a busy route and the train pulled in to empty and quiet stations, as it travelled through the Kent countryside. Sometimes you would hear a single door slam shut as someone either got on or off the train, but on the whole, it was silence at each stop. We sat, chatting and looking out of the window.

The train made another stop and the silence was broken.

The door to our compartment opened and two teenage boys got in. They looked about seventeen (my age) – just a couple of lads going out for the evening. They sat down opposite and stared out of the window. They had the whole, empty, train to choose from, why did they have to choose our compartment? The journey wouldn’t be as relaxed now.

It all happened so fast! Like lightening, and without any warning, I found myself on the floor of the train, struggling, trying to get free, the heavy weight of one of the boys holding me down. In my struggle I turned toward where my younger sister had been seated. She had been thrown across the seat, the other boy laying on top of her. She too, was trying, in vain, to free herself. I couldn’t believe how strong these boys were. No amount of struggling could free my arms of his grip, or allow me to move from under the weight of his body, pinning me down.

This struggling went on for a while until, finally, the train slowed down as it approached it’s next stop. I knew it would be another empty, quiet station. They all were, until you hit London. I prayed somebody would be there waiting to get on this train.

Suddenly, as quickly as they had pounced on us, they leapt up and jumped off the train, leaving us dazed and thankful. We stood and brushed ourselves down, wondering what it had all been about. Not realizing how serious this could have been, we continued on to our destination and slowly forgot this strange incident.

This obviously wasn’t the first time they had done this. It was all far too slick, both moving at lightening speed, and in unison, giving us no time to react. Not a single word had been spoken by them. They knew what to do, and when to do it. They had perfected it.

They were not rapists, at least at that time they were not. Had they been, I realize that we wouldn’t have stood a chance against their determined strength. Maybe this had been a rehearsal, before they moved on to more serious things.

Image source

  • Wow, Babs. This is dreadful to read!! I’ve never been attacked, that only happens in movies, you know. This felt all together different, reading that someone I know had this happen to them. I’m so glad you got lucky. Very, very lucky. Did you tell any adults after it happened?

    • You know, the weirdest thing Kathy. We actually just shrugged it off as one of those daft things that boys do. We didn’t give rape a thought. Those sort of crimes were few and far between back then. Muggings and violent crimes were unheard of. We weren’t afraid, just put out that they manhandled us, and had me on the dirty floor.
      I think the forerunner to all the sex crimes was the ‘Flasher’. They were everywhere, but they got their kicks from seeing shock on your face. I learned how to not show any expression – just to disappoint them 😉

  • What a terrible and shocking thing to experience.  The problem is, it happens so damn fast that you can’t even wrap your mind about what reaction you are having. Terror of course, but you don’t have time to think.  I’m glad it wasn’t worse than it was, but still.  Dreadful.

    • Funnily enough, rape didn’t enter our heads at the time. Had they been older men, then definitely it would have, but youth didn’t seem to do more than get into the odd fight back then. Now would most definitely be a different thing.

  • Couple of thugs that probably ended up in prison at some point.  Then the dynamics change.  They become the toys for other prisoners.  I am thankful you and your sister didn’t have to experience the ultimate horror from those two.

    Have a terrific day.  🙂

    • You are right. Thankfully they were no more than that. It didn’t enter our heads that they could be, at the time. It’s on looking back you see the danger of the situation.

  • Ron

    “They were not rapists, at least at that time they were not. Had they been, I realize that we wouldn’t have stood a chance against their determined strength. Maybe this had been a rehearsal, before they moved on to more serious things.”

    OMG…what a scary thing for both your sister and you to have gone through! And you’re right, they we probably ‘testing’ the waters before they moved on to more serious things.

    When I started reading this post I thought it was going to be something completely different.

    Whew…so glad you both got through this unharmed.

    I’m suddenly thinking, I wonder what ever happened to those two guys?

    Thanks for sharing, my friend….X

    • It would be nice to think they were just a couple of lads having a laugh at our (and probably other girls) expense. I fear that any lads that would do that, will surely move on to other things. They certainly didn’t have any respect for girls. Thinking about it, it was still the days when sex wasn’t freely available, so maybe it was just the frustrating ‘growing’ stage for the boys (if you know what I mean). Still no excuse though.

      • Ron

        Yes, I do know what you mean. But, you’re right…still no excuse though.


  • Holy fucking SCARY Babs! 

    • And you didn’t even say ‘sofa’ 🙂

      It would have been unbelievably scary if it happened now, but in the early 60’s I don’t think I’d ever heard of a rape case, so that fear wasn’t there. As I said in previous comments. Violent and sex crimes were unheard of back then, though I imagine they did happen sometimes. It was so different to the violence of today.

  • Scary! I’m glad you both made it out of there. I sure hope it was just a stupid teenage prank and they did not progress. I do not even want to think what could happen…
    Hugs from Ohio,

    • I hope so too, but they did have it off to a fine art. Something makes me think it wasn’t the first time they had done it.

  • What an awful experience! Thank goodness they got off the train. Couple of punks. I really hope it’s as you say, and they were just pranking. I’d hate to think they progressed from punks to rapists.

    • Hopefully that’s all it was, though if it had been a ‘no stop’ train, I dread to think how far it would have gone.

  • Yikes, Babs!  How frightening!  I’m so glad you and your sister weren’t badly hurt.

    • The only thing that was hurt was our dignity really. Though I do appreciate now, that we were very fortunate they didn’t do more.

  • ruth19

    This is very frightening. I don’t understand what they wanted. Thank god you two were OK, and not seemingly psychologically or emotionally wounded, though it must have left its mark.

    • Strangely enough, we just took it in our stride. We were annoyed that they dishevelled us on our way out, but we soon forgot the incident. We didn’t fully appreciate what could have happened.

  • So horrible that that happened to you and your sister.  I guess there has always been meanness in the world, but it wasn’t heard of as much at that time.  I am glad it wasn’t any worse, as it could have been.  It is hard to say what may have become of those boys.

    • Yes, life was less dangerous back then, which is probably why we took it in our stride and just continued on our journey. If you haven’t heard about rape and violence, you don’t fear it, I suppose. It’s as you get older you realize what could have been.

  • Jay

    Yikes, Babs!    What a horrible experience .. and yes, it does make you wonder if you were part of a rehearsal. They must have known how little time they’d have between stations, so maybe they were practising and trying to see whether the incident got reported, or if you’d remember their faces, or what they’d do if someone got in at the next stop.  At this stage they could always say they were just fooling around, no harm done, and it’s doubtful (in those days) if they would have been prosecuted.

    But it’s clearly the reason they did away with those carriages.  I actually rather liked them, because nobody could wander in while the train was moving. You knew that if you were on your own when it pulled out of the station, you’d be on your own till the next one.

    • To be honest, I’ve had far worse happen to me on a train since. A train with lots of male passengers, who just ignored it, pretending it wasn’t happening. UNBELIEVABLE! I was scared then. I used to prefer those single carriages actually. They were nice a private.

  • That’s nuts! What a crazy thing to do, and so scary for you & your sister. Would be interesting to know what became of those boys, what they progressed to!

    • I hope they grew out of it. They were only young and probably hadn’t grown up yet.

  • BetteJo Beads

    I was that age in the mid 70’s and I have a feeling I would have reacted a bit like you did.  Damn boys!  But looking back at how fearless I was – kind of scares me. And these days – forget it. 

    • You said it! Things didn’t scare us back then. I experienced far worse things and didn’t get too scared either – but now would be a whole different ball game!

  • Liudwp

    Unfortunatelly, such stories happen from time to time. You were fortunate to go out with only great fear. Who knows, what was the aim of this “practice”…

    • We were very fortunate. I think the ending would have been quite different now days.

      • Liudwp

        You are right. They have not any fear of anything today. In this sense, those times were really much more sure.