Balloons near overhead wires

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Waddon, 30 Aug 2015.

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  1. Waddon

    Waddon Member

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    Yesterday I was at a major station on the WCML and there was a a parent and child there towing a large foil balloon on a very long string (long enough for the balloon to be bouncing along on the ceiling as they walked). They were queueing for tickets so I assume they were on the point of going to the platforms to board a train.

    I was concerned that a balloon of that type could potentially touch the overhead wires and possibly lead to electrocution, however despite there being a very large contingent of customer service staff milling around none of them took any action, after watching and debating with myself for five minutes, hoping someone else would step in, in the end I did point it out to a staff member and they (presumably) went and had a word with the parent.

    Was I being over cautious? I know in European stations there are often posters warning of just such a thing, and there have been incidents of foil balloons shorting out overhead wires before - but I've never seen or heard warnings in the UK. Should the staff on duty be on the lookout for this sort of thing and advising people to be careful in such situations?
     
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  3. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    Yes, they should. It's something that was drilled into us in our induction and that we ask staff to be on the lookout for.
    Having seen one go BANG very loudly just by St Pancras's champagne bar, it's something you don't forget in a hurry!
     
  4. Mojo

    Mojo Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    There are warning signs on the international platforms at Ashford Int'l.
     
  5. Quakkerillo

    Quakkerillo Member

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    When a friend of mine and me went from St. Pancras to Brussels by Eurostar, he thought it was funny to take a balloon with him, that he was offered by some store (fastfood? vodafone? can't remember).
    No employee said a thing about it, although he got really weird looks from the security woman manning the x-ray, when she saw the balloon coming through.
    Didn't think much about it at the time, but might have been something to take into account yes.
     
  6. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    I've heard them making an announcement at St Pancras Low Level about the risk of balloons. I don't think this was a routine safety announcement, as I've only heard it on one occasion and there was a child on the platform with a balloon. I guess if the string was long enough for the child still to have hold of the other end there could be a real safety risk here.
     
  7. wensley

    wensley Established Member

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    I will always ask folk to keep them close to their bodies, scares me as well!
     
  8. Masboroughlad

    Masboroughlad Established Member

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    I have heard warning announcements at Birmingham New Street before. I think at times of balloons being sold Christmas markets.
     
  9. the sniper

    the sniper Established Member

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    If they're in anything like most customer service roles on the railway they probably aren't PTS trained, they may not know the risk...
     
  10. Retorus

    Retorus Member

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    Well you'd hope that's where common sense comes in.
     
  11. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    We are not PTS trained, but we were still told of the risk.
     
  12. 59CosG95

    59CosG95 Established Member

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    I remember reading something in a Modern Railways mag about a foil balloon shorting out one of the ECML's headspans; irony was, it was in the shape of Mickey Mouse, so the whole incident was seen as "taking the mickey"!
     
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