Fridge Thrown Onto Tracks

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by SpacePhoenix, 24 Apr 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. SpacePhoenix

    SpacePhoenix Established Member

    Messages:
    5,399
    Joined:
    18 Mar 2014
    The culprits of this imho need to be locked up for many years:

    http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/ne...dge_thrown_onto_railway_line_from_footbridge/
     
  2. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

    Messages:
    2,520
    Joined:
    17 May 2011
    Is there any technology available that could alert a signalman when an object like this lies on the track? Possibly some kind of weak electric signal along the track which would short when obstructed?
     
  3. Zoidberg

    Zoidberg Established Member

    Messages:
    1,270
    Joined:
    27 Aug 2010
    Location:
    West Midlands
    I thought that was how a train was detected in a section.
     
  4. NSEFAN

    NSEFAN Established Member

    Messages:
    2,831
    Joined:
    17 Jun 2007
    Location:
    Southampton
    Depends. Signalling is being moved away from track circuits towards axle counters. I'm not sure that track circuits are actually a reliable indicator of line obstruction, as it would have to foul both rails and also be conductive. It's probably simpler to just fit that bridge with a cage to prevent anything being thrown at trains, as has been done to other footbridges.
     
  5. Monty

    Monty Established Member

    Messages:
    1,918
    Joined:
    12 Jun 2012
    Only for lines that utilise track circuits as a means of train detection. It wouldn't work as a means to tell if there was an obstruction or not as the debris would need to conduct electricity and be straddled across both pairs of rails for it work.
     
  6. broadgage

    broadgage Member

    Messages:
    742
    Joined:
    11 Aug 2012
    Location:
    Somerset
    Agree that it is not easy to detect obstructions on the track. Track circuits where used should detect a metallic obstruction that is making good electrical contact with both running rails, but even paint on say a fridge might prevent reliable contact.
    Metallic obstructions that contact the live rail and a running rail MIGHT trip out the traction current, and if not at least give a bit of warning due to the conspicuous arcing that results.

    Systems are available that use a trip wire under tension, this operates an alarm if triggered by an obstruction, they are used to detect rockfalls or landslides in places prone to such mishaps, this system MIGHT detect deliberately placed obstructions, but not reliably because they are placed on the vulnerable side of the rails and wont detect say a fridge that is on or between the rails but clear of the trip wire.

    Infra red beam detectors have been tried, but tend to give too many false alarms due to birds or light weight and harmless wind blown debris.

    CCTV is a possibility in particularly high risk locations, but not viable throughout.

    Ultimately I suspect that the most effective deterrent is conviction and severe punishment when caught.
    I would suggest 5 years imprisonment as a MINIMUM, for cases in which no serious accident results, 10 years if an accident is caused, and 20 years if life is lost.
     
    Last edited: 24 Apr 2015
  7. SpacePhoenix

    SpacePhoenix Established Member

    Messages:
    5,399
    Joined:
    18 Mar 2014
    It needs to be a minimum of 15-20 years as is it much different from attempted murder/man slaughter?
     
  8. Antman

    Antman Established Member

    Messages:
    3,580
    Joined:
    5 Dec 2013
    Location:
    London
    It wouldn't surprise me if they didn't get any bird at all and just community payback etc, if indeed they are ever caught, sadly such moronic behavior is by no means unusual nowadays!
     
  9. Smudger105e

    Smudger105e Established Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Joined:
    5 Jan 2010
    Location:
    N 52° 53.492 W 001° 15.493
    But I understand that we have the highest prison population in Europe barring Portugal. Is incarceration really the best way to deal with offenders of this nature?
     
  10. Antman

    Antman Established Member

    Messages:
    3,580
    Joined:
    5 Dec 2013
    Location:
    London
    Prison life is too cushy, for many it just isn't a deterrent
     
  11. Geezertronic

    Geezertronic Established Member

    Messages:
    3,200
    Joined:
    14 Apr 2009
    Location:
    Birmingham
    That's irrelevant to be honest. Something like this could cause serious injury or death not only to the crew & passengers on the train that hits the object but also to the crew & passengers of an oncoming service. Quite a serious offence and the perpetrators of this offence should be taken to task rather than given a slap on the wrist.

    Out of interest, how would you deal with this?
     
  12. SPADTrap

    SPADTrap Established Member

    Messages:
    1,969
    Joined:
    15 Oct 2012
    Not sure we're on the same planet!
     
  13. route:oxford

    route:oxford Established Member

    Messages:
    4,224
    Joined:
    1 Nov 2008
    Treat it as a terroism offence.
     
  14. Smudger105e

    Smudger105e Established Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Joined:
    5 Jan 2010
    Location:
    N 52° 53.492 W 001° 15.493
    I am not saying that this type of offence is not serious, and during my almost 40 years ad a Railwayman I have seen my share of damage caused by trespass and vandalism.

    I am not saying that a custodial sentence may not be appropriate in some instances, but 20 years just sounded like a knee jerk Daily Mail influenced reaction.

    There are many ways to restrict someone's liberty without locking them up. And these means are cheaper than the prison option.

    And if prison is as cushy as some like to think, how will it benefit anyone?

    As regards what action would I take? That would depend on so many variables that I don't think that I would like to make sweeping assessments of punitive actions.
     
  15. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

    Messages:
    3,446
    Joined:
    6 Sep 2011
    Location:
    Herts
    Recall a log item on Merseyrail where services were suspended after some thief dropped a stolen microwave onto the 3d rail.

    Many years ago - on a trip from Halifax to Man Vic - the old boy driver crunched his unit over a discarded fridge on the line. One of these 1970's "bomb alleys" - strewn with debris you do not see today - he obviously made a rapid risk assesment in a micro second and carried on.....
     
  16. Flying Snail

    Flying Snail Member

    Messages:
    701
    Joined:
    12 Dec 2006
    You think 20 years for a deliberate act that ends someone else's life is a knee-jerk reaction? I bet you wouldn't if that person was someone close to you.

    I don't think that monetary cost should be the primary concern, there are plenty of worse ways my taxes are spent than separating dangerous criminals from the rest of society.

    It benefits society by ensuring the criminal is unable to re-offend and it benefits the victim by appropriately punishing the person that harmed them.
     
  17. Smudger105e

    Smudger105e Established Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Joined:
    5 Jan 2010
    Location:
    N 52° 53.492 W 001° 15.493
    I did say that a custodial sentence may not be appropriate.

    I did say that a mandatory sentence may not be appropriate.

    My wife is a Probation Officer.

    And everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    Thankfully those on this forum, which includes myself, decide on sentencing guidelines. So any strong opinions either way are just that, opinion.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I meant that we do not decide sentences!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Having a further think about it, suggestions in earlier posts were that long sentences should be imposed when fatalities occur. Surely the perpetrator would be charged with manslaughter and sentenced accordingly?
     
  18. Emyr

    Emyr Member

    Messages:
    624
    Joined:
    8 Apr 2014
    Great way to reeducate criminals: put them in a building full of other criminals.
     
  19. kermit

    kermit Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    2 May 2011
    Sad but true, no matter how "tough" you make it (see Jimmy Boyle's account of being held in a solitary cage in Barlinnie in the 70s, hardly a cushy environment), institutions like prisons just bind the inmates into common cause against authority.

    The answers are not easy, but the casual dismissal of Community Service as a "slap on the wrist" doesn't help. The fact is that with skilled supervision, someone being required to do something they can be proud of (often a novelty) benefits both society, and the prospects for the individual.

    But, like the railways, those skills are being lost, as with little publicity, the Probation Service is being broken up, privatised and plundered by - yes, here they are again - the likes of Serco!!
     
  20. GB

    GB Established Member

    Messages:
    4,867
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2008
    Location:
    Somewhere
    This didn't end someone else's life though did it.
     
  21. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

    Messages:
    11,332
    Joined:
    10 May 2010
    If caught (which they won't be because the file will already be at the bottom of the 'too difficult' pile) they would only be charged with what ever their actions caused, what might have happened is irrelevant.
     
  22. Antman

    Antman Established Member

    Messages:
    3,580
    Joined:
    5 Dec 2013
    Location:
    London
    Exactly, and they certainly won't be getting anything like 20 years:o

    No doubt their defence will convince the court it was just intended as a bit of a laugh<(
     
  23. Smudger105e

    Smudger105e Established Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Joined:
    5 Jan 2010
    Location:
    N 52° 53.492 W 001° 15.493
    And the prosecution would no doubt be arguing that the actions of placing a comparitively light piece of equipment (a fridge) was in order to detail the train and cause as many fatalities as possible.

    So is it is to 20 years for placing a fridge, then how long for a microwave? A toaster? [emoji1]
     
  24. cool110

    cool110 Member

    Messages:
    267
    Joined:
    12 Dec 2014
    Location:
    Preston
    It doesn't really matter what the outcome was. The action of throwing any objects onto a railway with intent to endanger passengers is an offence in its own right that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
     
  25. Smudger105e

    Smudger105e Established Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Joined:
    5 Jan 2010
    Location:
    N 52° 53.492 W 001° 15.493
    The issue is that the prosecution would have to prove that intent beyond all reasonable doubt.
     
  26. Antman

    Antman Established Member

    Messages:
    3,580
    Joined:
    5 Dec 2013
    Location:
    London
    Life:roll:? It may be rather difficult too prove that they intended to endanger passengers. I am not for one minute trying to defend such idiotic behavior, just being realistic.
     
  27. alexl92

    alexl92 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,318
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2014
    Arguably it's potentially manslaughter then, isn't it? I'm no expert at all, just that's my understanding?
     
  28. Smudger105e

    Smudger105e Established Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Joined:
    5 Jan 2010
    Location:
    N 52° 53.492 W 001° 15.493
    Yes it would be manslaughter. BUT what was said was that the offence would be intent to endanger the public, and that intent would have to be proved. What is the likelihood that a fridge would derail a rail vehicle weighing 40 tonnes? I'm not saying it wouldn't happen, just rather unlikely.
     
  29. atillathehunn

    atillathehunn Member

    Messages:
    886
    Joined:
    6 Jan 2010
    Location:
    NL
    The lawyers will try for Section 35 Malicious Damage Act 1861 prosecution (indictable only), possibly Criminal Damages 1971. Depending on a number of factors they could end up settling for Section 56 British Transport Commission Act 1949.

    But locking them away for life achieves what exactly? It cannot be a manslaughter case, for what I really hope are obvious reasons. Nor murder. Simply because it involves a train does not mean those responsible for the crime should be instantly killed, nor locked away.
     
  30. NSEFAN

    NSEFAN Established Member

    Messages:
    2,831
    Joined:
    17 Jun 2007
    Location:
    Southampton
    With respect, this is why we don't let victims of crime decide on guilt or punishment. A justice system cannot be run on emotive judgement.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page