Is this an urban legend?

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EM2

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Found this story in a collection of supposedly 'useless information'.

In November 1971, a train was coming into a station, when a young man jumped in front of the train. The horrified driver hit the brakes, convinced that there was no way that the man could not be killed. Yet, although the train did hit the man, the train had stopped quickly enough that the wheels had not gone over him. The front of the train was jacked up to release the badly-injured man.
During the investigation, it was discovered that the man was a gifted young architect who was suffering a nervous breakdown. But even more surprisingly, it also found that it was not the driver who had applied the brakes. A split-second before the driver made his brake application, a passenger had pulled the emergency handle for no reason that he could adequately explain.
If it was not for that split second, the man would surely have been killed.

So, anyone know if this is true, or is it an urban legend?
 
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tsr

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Found this story in a collection of supposedly 'useless information'.

In November 1971, a train was coming into a station, when a young man jumped in front of the train. The horrified driver hit the brakes, convinced that there was no way that the man could not be killed. Yet, although the train did hit the man, the train had stopped quickly enough that the wheels had not gone over him. The front of the train was jacked up to release the badly-injured man.
During the investigation, it was discovered that the man was a gifted young architect who was suffering a nervous breakdown. But even more surprisingly, it also found that it was not the driver who had applied the brakes. A split-second before the driver made his brake application, a passenger had pulled the emergency handle for no reason that he could adequately explain.
If it was not for that split second, the man would surely have been killed.

So, anyone know if this is true, or is it an urban legend?

A pretty much useless fact about that story is that it was, again for no adequately explainable reason, published in an early "Horrible Histories" children's book.

I have absolutely no idea if it is true...
 

transmanche

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The fact that it's light on detail (e.g. no location given, no names used) is often an indication that it's not true.
 

Badger

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It's not in the railway accident archive nor is it in snopes.com.

Horrible Histories, while decent books, have a major habit of making crap up.

If something like this had really happened, and that recently, it wouldn't be "a station".
 

tsr

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Horrible Histories, while decent books, have a major habit of making crap up.

They do - and I'm in no way saying that they are accurate, nor that this is a story of a real event, but for some ridiculous reason or other I know that it was in a book of that series (not sure which one, when I found that out or any other details!).

It would be quite weird if it had been true. It's probably more likely that someone knocked or grabbed the alarm by accident as the train braked very hard - perhaps they were about to fall over - and the driver thought that the emergency brake application hadn't been as powerful as it would have been if that alarm had been used, so he put 2 and 2 together and made 5!
 

LE Greys

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Not so sure, but one from New York Grand Central main line section involved a woman who was clearly under the influence falling in front of a train and coming to rest under the live rail (no suicide pits here) completely uninjured. She lay there, passed out, for over half an hour while staff isolated the power and the fire department extracted her without moving the train. This story was published in some magazine somewhere by the firefighter who had to go under to see if she was still alive.
 

Mutant Lemming

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Not so sure, but one from New York Grand Central main line section involved a woman who was clearly under the influence falling in front of a train and coming to rest under the live rail (no suicide pits here) completely uninjured. She lay there, passed out, for over half an hour while staff isolated the power and the fire department extracted her without moving the train. This story was published in some magazine somewhere by the firefighter who had to go under to see if she was still alive.

The track can be safer than the platform on the NY subway. While I was there back in 1992 someone was hacked to death on the platform of Wall Street station by a maniac wielding an ice pick at 5pm in the middle of rush hour.
 

142094

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New York Subway is a lot safer than it used to be (although the way London seems to be going, the two could be comparable). Not sure if I'd like to travel on it in the early hours, although probably would give it a go to say I'd done it. Although the Bronx and Harlem are not as dangerous as you're lead to believe, I'm not sure if I'd want to be there at 3am.
 

MCR247

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Although the Bronx and Harlem are not as dangerous as you're lead to believe, I'm not sure if I'd want to be there at 3am.

The same with a lot of places that people wouldn't dare venture in because they expect to get stabbed/shot etc in the middle of the day with a load of people around!
 

Schnellzug

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It's not in the railway accident archive nor is it in snopes.com.

Horrible Histories, while decent books, have a major habit of making crap up.

If something like this had really happened, and that recently, it wouldn't be "a station".

Would every single incident of someone jumping under a train make it onto the rail accident archives? If they did, it would surely increase the size of it thousands-fold.
 

fairysdad

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I know this is the case on the Underground now, and (as far as I was aware) on most BR stock of the time (c. 1970s), the emergency passenger cord wasn't connected to the brakes, but to something that alerted the driver to stop the train manually. Therefore, wouldn't this be myth?

(Happy to stand corrected with regards to how said cord stopped trains on contemporary stock!)
 

trentside

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I believe it would depend on the stock. Certainly, the C Stock was built with emergency handles that acted directly on the brake pipe - they were built in 1969. I believe later stocks had an override for the driver, but I'm not absolutely certain which stocks were delivered new with this - possibly the 1973 Stock?
 

Dstock7080

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C Stock and '72 Stock were the last with traditional train line pipe alarms.

From '73 and D Stock the alarm was an electrical switch to the Westcode brake. This still stopped the train directly and required manual resetting.

A, C, '72 alarms were converted to electrical switches upon refurbishment.

Even after OPO it wasn't until much later the alarms were changed to 'alarm only' mode - investigation only required on the immediate departure from stations. Initially, this didn't apply the brakes at all it was down to the driver to take the required actions at the appropriate locations.

The system was further changed after several incidents to that what exists today, which when a passenger alarm is operated this an electrical switch which applies a full emergency brake, the driver now has an override foot switch "BOD" which can be operated after the train has stopped if outside station limits.
 
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