Death on platform 4

It apparently happened about 8:30am overnight, but was only noticed at 8:30am.

A 20 year old man decided to do a bit of “train surfing”.

He touched the wires. Zap. Dead.

By the time I went through at about 9:30, they were cleaning up the scene. Not that you could see anything; bystanders were kept well away.

Emergency services at Flinders Street Station Connex staff climbing on roof of train

What a stupid way to die.

Don’t do it, kids.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

14 replies on “Death on platform 4”

Are trains so different to trams or did he touch something else that was not a part of the train. You can stand on the roof of tram and make contact with the wires with no effect.

Reuben, it appears Jessica Jacobs’ death was a tragic accident. Whereas train surfing is an act of willingly (and pointlessly) risking death.

Andrew, some reports say he touched the pantograph. Though you used to see signs around the rail network warning people not to touch the wires.

If you could touch the wires while standing on a tram roof, it would mean that the entire roof is live and therefore therefore there is no potential between your feet and your fingers. But if that was the case, you’d die as you climbed onto the roof. Perhaps the pantograph on a tram is insulated, so you can touch it. But not the wires.

The pantograph on a train is live and is insulated from the train body at its base.

I couldn’t believe this when I heard it this morning. Either he was substance assisted, or otherwise this person was simply really, really stupid.

Regarding the death of Jessic Jacobs, there were some kids at Hawthorn station this morning sitting on the ground at the platform, fairly close to the edge (though far enough that they weren’t really in any danger.) But as an Xtrapolis expressed through, he sounded his horn for much longer than usual, as he could obviously see how close they were.

I just feel sorry for train drivers in situations like these, as there is little or anything that they can really do. Perhaps those periscopes that connex are removing should be reinstated?


I don’t think there’s enough safety mechanism in the world to stop stupidity. How can one possibly stop train surfing? It’s like stopping people intentionally jumping onto the tracks.

There might be ways, however, to stop people to be too close to the edge of platform as described in Nathan’s case.



I apologise if my post above sounds a bit insensitive in the light of Jessica Jacobs. The stupidity act I was referring to was to train surfing if I didn’t make myself clear.


True, Alan, but we can reduce the risks idiots pose. Removal of level crossings is a good first step…overall, there should be more police on the trains and more accessible education facilities for unruly idiots.

How do you “remove” level crossings? And I doubt putting coppers on trains will be a good solution, or indeed a feasible solution.

I’ve never seen police presence on public transport elsewhere in the world. Imagine police on every train on every line. It’s unnecessary and a huge burden to the police resource.

Again stupidity like train surfing cannot be stopped.No matter how much resource is poured in. How can you stop someone who say, decides to jump in front of a train as it approaches? If it were that easy, murder and terrorism can also be stopped.

Alan, level crossing elimination is done by moving the railway line under the roadway. Some cities, such as Sydney, have almost completely got rid of level crossings in the metropolitan area.

No, you’re right, you can’t stop idiots maliciously being idiots. But you can build the infrastructure to minimise the impact of carelessness.

I was told by a tram driver that the voltage on a tram wire is 600 volts and the voltage on a train wire is 1500 volts. To be electrocuted you need to contact the currant source and a ground/earth. This is why a bird can sit on a power line or a train wire without harm. Stupitidy has its concequences, sometimes severe ones.

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