As much as these Extinction Rebellion (XR) protestors think they’re so smart for jumping on the trains at Canary Wharf to rally against climate change, this is an interesting campaign by the train lobby in the UK showing just how stupid playing on trains can be. Could it be the extinction will turn out to be self inflicted by the very source of energy powered by fossil fuels?
1) 25,000 Volts
The power running through overhead railway lines is 100 times stronger than your supply at home. Electricity is easily the most dangerous factor in stepping on the track – it’s always switched on and nine out of ten people die when they’re struck by it.
Others are left with life-changing injuries, including burns and amputations; and that’s not to mention the emotional scars that will be left behind. Electricity is easily underestimated. People don’t realise it can jump – so you don’t even need to touch a cable to be seriously injured.
2) You vs Train traveling at 125mph
You can’t outrun a train. And even if you could, you wouldn’t hear it coming, as today’s trains almost silently reach speeds of 125mph. And they run 24 hours a day. So even if you think it’s a ‘quiet time’, you can be hit by thousand tonne freight trains that run all night.
Don’t think that keeping to one side of the track will keep you safe. Trains are all wider than the rails. You’re just as likely to trip over the train equipment and be dragged on to the track.
3) You vs the electrified 3rd rail
The third rail is probably the hardest danger to see. It looks just like an ordinary rail, but it carries 750 volts – easily enough to kill you.
It’s designed to send power to the train, but you are 70 per cent water and the perfect conductor for this electricity. If you touch the rail, you will “stick” to it. The DC current that flows through it will pull you in and not let go until the emergency services are able to switch the power off.
Nearly half of the UK rail network is now electrified – and more than 30 per cent uses a third rail to power the train. The only way to avoid stepping on this hidden danger is not to step on the track.
While they might argue there were no overhead power lines on this train their actions show a flagrant disregard for safety. The fine for rail trespass/disruption is £1,000. Let’s see how many actually get fined. Or do they get let off because of what they support?