Man electrocuted and burned at Birmingham new street

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Edders23, 1 Dec 2019 at 12:11.

  1. RichT54

    RichT54 Member

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    I think that if educating people of the dangers and terrible effects of electrocution prevents at least one accident or attempted suicide, then it is definitely worth doing.
     
  2. Peter C

    Peter C Established Member

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    I agree with some of the more informative posts on here, but I do not agree with people going on about how they think xyz works and then spending more time complaining about that than on the event at hand.

    -Peter
     
  3. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    But it is you who seems to be doing most of the complaining. If you are not interested in the topic, then I suggest you stop reading it.

    That was the rhyme that I was taught at school. I also remember a quite graphic BBC trade-test transmission that was repeatedly shown on BBC2 in the days before all-day TV - it taught the acronym "SIDE" (Switch-off, Isolate, Dump, Earth) to those working on high-voltage equipment. I knew that my father's work involved electricity, so I insisted he watch it (he was actually a telephone engineer, and never had anything to do with HV circuits).

    1) with AC, the voltage alternates between positive and negative peaks. The stated voltage is the root-mean-square (or "average") of the alternating voltage. The peak voltage on a 240v AC supply is actually significantly higher than 240v. Whereas with a 240v DC supply you get 240v.

    2) with DC, the current is constant, so causes the muscles to contract and stay contracted. So you may be unable to let go of whatever your are holding that is electrocuting you. With AC, the alternating positive and negative currents cause the muscles to go into spasm.

    Perhaps the most significant factor in how severe a shock is, is how the supply is earthed, and how well you are connected to earth. With modern domestic mains supplies, the negative is usually earthed, so if you touch the live you will get the full 240v ac. However, the 110v supplies commonly used on building sites are centre-earthed, so although it is a 110v supply, the voltage to earth on either the live or neutral is only half that. The power supplies used on railway signalling circuits are supposed to be earth-free, so in theory (and I stress that bit) you shouldn't get any shock at all if you touch it. In practice, however, no supply is ever truly earth-free.

    During my railway career, it was quite common to accidentally touch live 110v ac signalling circuits as the terminals carrying 110v ac were not covered. Depending on how earth-free the supply was, the shock was relatively benign. In fact, we would deliberately touch 110v terminals when fault-finding as a quick and easy way of seeing if the circuit were live or not. Whereas I have known someone receive a very nasty jolt from a 12v dc circuit.
     
  4. Sprinter107

    Sprinter107 Member

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    Another very informative post. Thanks very much for posting it. Its good to have stuff explained in an easy to understand way.
     
  5. MadMac

    MadMac Member

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    It's on YouTube:

     
  6. malc-c

    malc-c Member

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    It has always puzzled me why AC is short for Alternating Current when actually its the voltage that alternates between positive and negative. I guess it's because of the relationship of Ohms law with voltage / current / resistance that at the zero crossing point were there is no voltage then there is no current either... so it alternates along with the voltage ?

    Anyway, all this talk about the properties of electricity is going off topic. Regardless of how / why the chap came into contact with the OHLE it must have been a traumatic experience for all those who witnessed it, and for the relatives of the person involved.
     
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, the current flow will alter with the voltage, if I'm not being thick.
     
  8. Peter C

    Peter C Established Member

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    I am interested, so I shall read on.

    -Peter
     
  9. ohgoditsjames

    ohgoditsjames Member

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    The current does alternate, it’s the alternating current that produces an alternating magnetic field and it’s that alternating magnetic field that is behind Faradays laws of electromagnetic induction and mutual induction which are the principles behind a transformers operation.

    In inductive loads (the most common) the current lags behind the voltage and in capacitive loads (not common) the voltage lags behind the current.

    Back on topic:

    Sincerely hope that the bloke pulls through and makes a full recovery.
     
    Last edited: 3 Dec 2019 at 11:14
  10. Sprinter107

    Sprinter107 Member

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    I think that any decent person would hope that he makes a full recovery. I just hope that this is a lesson to anyone else thinking of putting themselves in a dangerous position. Other passengers and staff may have been badly hurt, and the sight of a person on fire mustve been traumatic for anyone to witness, let alone small children. The railway isnt a playground for foolish acts.
     
  11. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    Obviously a terrible incident for the individual, and indeed everyone who saw what happened

    It does show though that third rail isn't the only danger on the railways, as sometimes to me it seems to be demonised excessively
     
  12. Martin1504

    Martin1504 Member

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    The OHLE is perfectly safe unless some idiot decides it's funny to try and climb on top of a train, bang, fizz.....and the winner of this year's Darwin award is...
     
  13. Lemmy99uk

    Lemmy99uk Member

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    Thank you for your considerate words.

    I take it you have never met anyone with mental health issues like PTSD, depression and other personality disorders?

    I thought not.
     
  14. option

    option Member

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    Are you suggesting that this was a suicide attempt?

    Given when & where it happened, it's more likely to be someone who's been out drinking all night & then climbed a train as a dare.


    I'm surprised a 323 is climbable, considering how smooth sided they are.
     
  15. Martin1504

    Martin1504 Member

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    You know that for a fact presumably?? He wasn't simply a drunken idiot?
     
  16. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    Many thanks for posting that. After a very "Mr Cholmondley-Warner-ish" start, it does slowly and surely rack up the suspense in a quite Hitchcockian manner. To show just how fallible memory can be, I was convinced that the film ended "in suspense" just before the worker gets shocked. Perhaps that is the point at which as an infant I always looked away. But the film worked - I have remembered the acronym SIDE to this day, near-on 50 years later.

    And googling the correct spelling of Cholmondley-Warner, led me to the "Women: Know Your Limits" public information film......
     
  17. Railwaysceptic

    Railwaysceptic Member

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    Third rail is also safe as long as you don't touch it. The trains and platforms in third rail land are the some of the most crowded in the country but sensible passengers travel in complete safety.
     
  18. O L Leigh

    O L Leigh Established Member

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    I'm sorry to say, but my own feelings are that this is more likely.

    Either way, it's a tragedy for the person involved who is now having to come to terms with the injuries caused as a result of their actions and, as far as it goes, he and his family have my sympathy and best wishes. As laudable as it is to be aware of other people's mental states and frailties, if it transpires that these injuries came as the result of reckless actions, either of his own volition or due to the encouragement of others then the usual response on this forum is condemnation. However, I think that perhaps we should wait and see.
     
  19. GRALISTAIR

    GRALISTAIR Established Member

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    It really annoyed me to see Extinction Rebellion trying a sort of similar stunt.
     
  20. Lemmy99uk

    Lemmy99uk Member

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    No. And neither do I pre-judge.
     
  21. Edders23

    Edders23 Member

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    and today they glued themselves to an ELECTRIC bus :rolleyes: it shows how intelligent the brains behind it are :lol:
     
  22. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    However it's possible to touch it in circumstances such as falling from a platform or in guided or self-evacuations, which we've had several of recently when electrocution was a distinct possibility. Track workers come into close proximity to it routinely. Unless it's damaged and dangling down but not in contact with the ground, coming into dangerous proximity to OLE requires doing something highly unusual like climbing onto a train.

    Nevertheless I am troubled by the lack of statistical justification from the ORR to support their ban on any significant extra third rail.
     
  23. Railwaysceptic

    Railwaysceptic Member

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    All true but as this incident has demonstrated it is also possible to touch overhead cables. It seems obvious to this non-professional that no trackworker - as opposed to people attending to cuttings or embankments - should work until the third rail current has been turned off.
     
  24. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    The third rail is almost-always positioned on the opposite side of the track to the platform, for just this reason. Obviously not possible in those few cases where there is a platform both sides of a single track, as at Norwood Junction. You would probably survive falling on the live rail, provided it was only your clothes that touched it, and they weren't too wet.

    One of my old supervisors had apparently jumped down off this platform at Norwood Junction, and accidentally landed one foot on the live rail and the other foot on the running rail. He lived to tell the tale, but said it hadn't done his love-life much good for awhile.
     
  25. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Only by climbing onto the top of a train or similar - something a normal track worker or passenger suffering a mishap or evacuation is unlikely to be doing.
    Track workers are in proximity to the live rail on a daily basis.
     
  26. axlecounter

    axlecounter Member

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    To be fair, the OHLE is a danger at level crossings too. High vehicles and high objects could touch it. That said, a ban on third rail seems fair enough, after all it’s an high voltage line running few cm above ground!
     
  27. Dr_Paul

    Dr_Paul Member

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    The up slow platform at Surbiton had several yards of conductor rail on the platform side of the track as there is a trailing turn-out to a PW siding halfway along the platform. It has now been removed, and there is thus a gap in the conductor rail.

    When I was a kid, our neighbour was a ganger on LT's PW staff. He told us that if he'd a few too many down the pub at lunchtime, he'd glance his foot across the live rail and the shock would sober him up for the afternoon. I don't know if was telling us a tall tale.
     
  28. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    While I think it is probably a tall-tale, I have seen PW doing things like trapese-walking along the top of the live third rail.

    The Southern's third-rail system is effectively earthed through the running rails, so touching the live rail will give the full 650v/750v to earth. However, I understand that LT's traction supply is unearthed, so in theory touching it should not be quite as dangerous - although I would still not recommend trying it! I was told that it floats at about +440v on the outer rail and -220v on the inner rail. Where third and fourth rail trains share the same tracks (such as on the Wimbledon and Richmond branches, and north of Queens Park), then the inner live-rail is effectively bonded to the running rails, giving full traction volts on the outer live-rail.
     
  29. Mordac

    Mordac Established Member

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    Isn't it the case that there are a lot of places on the Southern 3rd rail network, mostly those far from substations, where the current is very low because there's so many trains using those sections?
     
  30. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Isn't there a considerable risk of arcing from the OLE within a certain proximity, even if you don't come into contact with it.
     

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