The film is a remake of the 1974 classic starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. It stars Washington as Walter Garber, a New York Underground dispatcher whose daily grind is interrupted by reckless hijacker John Travolta.
Washington recalled that while growing up in Mount Vernon just outside New York City, he travelled that same subway every day. He said that he once swore that if he ever made a name for himself, he would never return to those tracks.
"I spent two hours each way (going to school) and did everything on it - slept, ate, did my homework," the Daily Express quoted the 54-year-old star as saying. "I swore as soon as I had two pennies to rub together I would never ride it again. I hadn't travelled the subway for 20 years. It smelled just the way I remembered," he added.