Passing through a rock tunnel and rising just over 120 feet in elevation, the funicular between Liljeholmen and the Nybohov hill in Stockholm has been a popular means of transportation since its debut to the public in 1964. Since that time, very little changed about the ride until the last few years. Suddenly brightly colored children’s toys began peppering the darkness.
Appearing at equally spaced intervals, nearly thirty playthings (plus or minus a few) punctuate the two-and-a-half minute ride. No one knows exactly how the toys get there, but this mysterious task requires a key to the metro, so it seems like an inside job. Regardless of the individual responsible, for the past few years, the occasional teddy bear or unnamable plush animal has appeared to join other comrades in the tunnel, likely hailing from inside the funicular’s cars where they have been left behind, unclaimed, by a child.
In May 2012, Stockholm’s city officials in charge of safety matters decided the toys should be removed from the tunnel and handed over to the transportation department’s lost and found office, suggesting these creatures’ components made them a “fire hazard.” What Stockholm’s officials hadn’t anticipated was the degree to which its citizens had grown attached to their fuzzy companions in the funicular. Thanks to immediate counter-demonstrations in favor of the toys’ presence, their cheery faces can still be seen decorating the Nybohov Funicular today.