On every station platform in this country, set back a goodly distance from the edge, there is a thick yellow line. We are (almost) constantly advised to stand behind it. The majority of people manage to do this because, basically, what is there to be achieved by standing on the train side of it?
I guess those people who stand on the train side of the yellow line are the same ones who think they need to stand right on the edge of the kerb while they wait for the lights to change at busy intersections. It’s like all logic goes out the window. Standing so close or beyond where safety dictates for absolutely no gain is, frankly, moronic. And while I’m at it, why on earth do people stand with their finger poised over the door release button? Are they concerned they’ll forget how to lift their arm and press when the doors are actually released by the guard?
But, returning to the yellow line. As I say, every platform in the land has them and announcements as to their function are booming out on a permanent tannoy loop. It seems that most people believe the line is there to stop trains travelling in excess of 100mph sucking passengers off the platform.
While I guess safety is the main concern, there should be another announcement to the effect that if you stand too close and the train hits you, you will inconvenience thousands of people as they try to make their ways to where ever they are going (generally work or home). Mind you, most people are quite selfish and would possibly, secretly, enjoy this.
Now I have no idea how it came to pass that someone managed to get themselves hit by a train at Raynes Park this morning – the latest newspaper report just says he was hit by a train at around 6:30am and died – but it’s usually suicide. What I do know is that Mirinda’s train was delayed and she didn’t get any further than Aldershot before getting off and taking a taxi home.
Imagine my surprise when I returned from shopping to find the dogs in the house and the back doors wide open. I assumed I’d left one and therefore allowed the second but then discovered Mirinda sitting at the dining table happily tap tapping on her computer.
Rather than face the prospect of being stuck on the train for a few hours, she’d decided to come home then catch a train a few hours later when the fracas had died down and the schedule realigned. This was never going to happen. She worked from home all day.
While looking for any information regarding this morning’s fatality (or Major Act of Selfishness) I found some interesting information regarding train deaths. Apparently, and according to the Rail Safety and Standards Board, rail remains one of the safest ways to travel. I reckon it has to be THE safest, surely. Okay, maybe Thames Clippers are the safest, followed by trains.
Anyway, the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) is there to help with the suicide problem facing the railway companies. They work with the Samaritans and railway staff to try and anticipate and avert the public killing themselves with trains. (I’d personally opt for sleeping pills – no pain and you just fall asleep.)
The RSSB was formed in 2003 following the inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove Rail Crash in 1999. It wasn’t formed just because of the statistics which keep creeping up each year regarding death by train across Britain. As well as general safety issues, they also deal with train horn noise.
However, leaving the problems of aural irritation aside for the moment, last year the number of deaths on the railways was 332. This figure is made up of 22 people trespassing on the tracks and 293 suspected suicides. (The other 17, I assume, relate to deaths not caused by being hit by a train – heart attack, murder by means other than a train but close to one, falling musical instruments, etc.)
Anyway, to get back to the Thick Yellow Line which started this post…according to the RSSB following research into the Thick Yellow Lines, they were originally put in place when we had slam door trains. The doors swung open and would smash people in the face so, to prevent idiots standing within the swing, the lines were painted.
I’m wondering why they chose to use a woman in the poster above. I remember slam door trains and the ones who opened the door and leapt off before the train stopped were men. I’m also a bit concerned for the chap in the bowler hat who is about to get walloped by the door.
And, just for the memory, here’s a slam door carriage.