Thursday, March 13, 2014

Comeng Jumpers

A silly lad and his friends forced open the door of a Melbourne Comeng branded train. The lad jumped out of the train when it was still at some speed.

While not at such a speed, many is the time years ago I jumped off a moving train with its doors open, or a moving tram that had no doors. Many people did and they learned the technique of doing it. I think I could still do it, but describing it is hard. I think you face the direction the vehicle is going and step forward briskly or even run as you get off. I don't recall a massive number of train and tram injuries to people back then.

After all, trains had doors that could be open at any speed, and apart from the open doorways on a tram, the other side in warm weather would just have a drop down bar at about an older toddler head height. Astonishingly, people and kids did not fall out, although I recall the occasional pram shooting out the doorway of a tram as the tram turned a corner, usually with no damage to the baby.

Back then, I also saw someone skittled by someone jumping off a tram that was at a high speed. The old days were not always great.

So yes, you can safely jump off a moving train or tram, but not when it is going fast. The lad jumped off the train when it was still travelling at speed and could have hurt someone. He is stupid and more stupid because he put it on Facebook and alerted the world to it.

Our Metro Trains have massively over-reacted in advance and is already installing recessed finger grips to open the heavy train doors, as against the very convenient push handles that are on most Comeng trains. The big lever handles make it easy to use to open the doors for older and disabled people. The recessed finger grips are not. I expect the cost of changing all Comeng train handles will be over $100,000.

You can see the video of the lad jumping off the train here, but how often does that happen and how dangerous is it really. Teenagers heal well and quickly. I never thought I would say it, but we are really in a nanny state. People need to take responsibility for their actions and not expect the state to look after them.

Yes, I am in a grumpy mood today, abortion and train jumpers. It is my first day off after ten days of working and what do I hear? Motor cars racing around an inner suburban park, aka Melbourne's Grand Prix, is nasty. But I no complain. The race was here before we were, but I hated it and everything it stood for long before we moved here.


30 comments:

  1. agree on the GP. it is awful to live and work near it.
    me and Copperwitch have an experience of train hoodlums and wish they all would just die out of the gene pool.

    'Hit the ground running' was the catchcry of the hobos on the Depression freight trains.
    I have hit the ground hard off a fast moving horse more than once, and that may be the cause of everything my body complains about these days. When we were kids my idiot cousin Karen had not properly shut her door and rolled out of the family car as her father turned a corner. No damage. :)

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    1. Ann, my maternal grandmother fell out of a Customline ute with my brother in her arms, and no harm done, just bruising.

      Yep, those who jump out of fast moving trains do improve the gene pool. Your horse fall is not like a deliberate train jump. You must have done some of those.

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    2. Snap* my older sister fell out of the car as the door swung open while dad turned into the driveway. No harm done.

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    3. Metro Trains has been working hard with government to have the Comeng train doors fixed. The trains belong to the government ;)

      Also, there are standards around tram and train doors that are set by Statute bodies such as Transport Safety Victoria and Worksafe Victoria.

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    4. Allan, surely the owners of the trains are the ones to make sure they are safe, ipso facto the government. You have made clear the delineation between the two, and it is not the responsibility of Metro Trains.

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  2. My late grandfather used to tell me tales of him and his friends jumping onto, and off of, moving trains. Said he never had so much as a sprained ankle believe it or not! But I often wonder if those tales became exaggerated over the years :)

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    1. Keith, I really don't thing they are exaggerations. There was a technique to it. I did it myself, but I just can't describe it.

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  3. I just got a mental image of trains slowing down but not stopping in stations, doors opening and passengers commando rolling out onto the platform haha! Come on, don't be grumpy Andrew.. be 'Pharrell' happy :)

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    1. Grace, it might be time to repost the Randwick races tram video clip. Yes, trying to be happy.

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  4. Ah Grace, my own technique might be more sausage roll than commando roll!
    Seriously, it's hard to know how we might strike a balance between a lack of respect or care for others, and a ridiculously litigious society.

    Maybe there should be a "tram only slows here" stop outside the Fertility Clinic and as protesters arrive near their destination a giant, driver-operated hydraulic ram could shove them all out the door.

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    1. Yes, it is a balance FC, but we don't want to see it go in the direction of people not being able to open train doors because of a very rare event.

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  5. I remember trams where you had to jump on and off, rather difficult for older people ! But train doors are closed, no way to open them.

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    1. Gattina, no one had to jump on and off, some younger and fit people chose to. I guess because of the cold your train doors had to remain closed.

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  6. That man jumping form the train in the video is not foolhardy he is dangerous. He might easily have scuttled someone standing on the platform perhaps into the path of a train on the other side of the platform. Not to mention possible harm to himself even to the extent of ongoing health costs. There was no need for him to jump as the train was stopping at the station anyway. Nanny state or no, I'm probably not as sanguine about this activity as you.

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    1. Victor, I do think he behaved dangerously. As I said in one sentence, I have seen someone knocked down by someone doing the same from a tram at speed. But I am against the installation of train door handles that make it harder to force doors open, because they make it so much harder for everyone else to open the doors. There was a big fuss made about the lad jumping off the moving train because it is a very rare thing.

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  7. Oh dear people are a bit silly.
    Merle............

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    1. Merle, especially the invincible young.

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  8. Practising for the Darwin awards?
    I don't envy you the Grand Prix. Not the event or the crowds. Or the behvaviour of some of the spectators. Grump away.
    We had a school bus driver who refused to stop if there was only one or two to get off. He would slow down and you had to take your chances. Which we did - until someone didn't make it cleanly. Several breaks, as the door of the bus clipped her as he accelerated away.

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    1. EC, I will be at work for the 3rd day and we will be away the 4th day.

      That was dangerous. It is one thing choosing to jump but quite another being told to. Buses are also less predictable that trams.

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  9. I sometimes have trouble stepping off a moving escalator (and don't get me started on revolving doors) but I can definitely see the merit of jumping off moving trains...it might help with Metro's on time performance.

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    1. Evol 'likes' this comment.

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    2. AdRad, it is revolving doors that get me, and remember the clip of pratt Bernie Eccleston going into a building through a revolving door and straight out again. Better that the trains run without people and they would almost reach their time performance.

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  10. Lol! I can't stop watching this video. The way he slides across the platform is ridiculous, and the casual reactions from the people on the platform are priceless. I can't wrap my head around why he did it? It doesn't appear he had any friends egging him on! People are strange....

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    1. The bravado of the young Evol. Looks like he might have hurt his head a bit.

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  11. Perhaps he is practising to be a stuntman.
    IMO he's an idiot...
    The whole of Australia is a nanny state.
    What happened to trusting people to use their common sense?

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    1. River, I would put forward that when train doors could be open while the train was moving, no one would jump off at such a speed. A few years ago a train travelled for a short distance with a door open and the media went crazy about the danger. The more people are cosseted, the less inclined they are to look after their own welfare.

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  12. Ex-Londoner here. I come from the time when buses were 'jump on/jump off' and bus stops sometimes a long way apart. In peak hours, the bus would crawl at a rate hardly faster than you could walk. As long as we understood our Newtonian Laws of Motion and our personal limitations, we generally came to no harm and got home for tea a good deal earlier.

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    1. Pants, I am sure you can't do that now.

      Well done you. We need to remember laws of motion. When getting off a moving vehicle, you don't fight against the motion but embrace it.

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  13. I think a lot of tragedies happened in the good old days that just weren't publicized.
    However I do agree it's ridiculous to install these finger grips. There will always be idiots and these incidents surely are not that common.

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    1. Possibly Jackie, but I have been a user since the mid seventies, and I don't recall seeing such incidents. The finger grips are just wrong and the plan should be halted.

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