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#179582 07/22/08 09:56 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
A tourist who relieved himself over a live railway line at a south London station was electrocuted.

The Polish man died when an electric current connected with urine which had splashed on to the 750-volt line.

It is thought the married 41-year-old teacher was on a trip to London to improve his English.

Workers found his body slumped over a track at Vauxhall station after he was seen by staff at the station.

They had earlier spotted him on CCTV screens walking into a recess area but failing to reappear.

Rail workers fear the victim may not have known that some tracks in Britain are electrified.

It took police a week to identify the victim after the tragedy, which happened at around 5pm.

A source said: 'Perhaps because he was from Poland he had no idea the rail was electrified. His family back home is heartbroken.'

The station has no toilets, but there are public toilets nearby.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,788
Likes: 14
If the experiments on mythbusters are any indication, something else was going on. When they tried this the pee stream turned out to be little drops, not a steady stream (verified with a high speed camera) and they couldn't get a conductive path.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 404
Maybe he lost his balance?

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 787
Originally Posted by gfretwell
If the experiments on mythbusters are any indication, something else was going on. When they tried this the pee stream turned out to be little drops, not a steady stream (verified with a high speed camera) and they couldn't get a conductive path.

Even when it is under a lot of pressure? If someone resorts to peeing on a railroad bed, I think there was an urgent need at that point.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Er..Oh deary me! This story appeared in the British 'Sun', which has the gall to pose as a "newspaper". It consists of totally rubbish 'scoops', [ famously that a well known English comedian had bitten the head off a fan's pet Hamster], pictures of half-naked models and dozens of pages of soccer, along with reams of adverts for loans for morons, tools to cut nostril hair etc.. An average reader [ mental age 9 ] takes about 1 minute to read it's 'news content' cover to cover.

Look. If this man went into a 'recess', hidden from the cctv cameras, how did he get to pee near the live rail which is a good four feet out from the edge of the platform, in full view of them and station staff?

Wood work but can't!
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
I agree that The Sun can hardly be described as a newspaper, but the story has been picked up by several other news media outlets, including the Daily Mail, Telegraph, even ITN:

It seems clear that the man was electrocuted, but there do seem to be some rather confusing things in the reports, and some questions over exactly what happened.

Some sources state that station staff observed him disappearing into a "recess" on CCTV but not emerging. Others, like the ITN one above, say that British Transport Police report that he walked off the end of platform 1 onto the tracks.

I'm not familiar with the layout of Vauxhall station (south of the river you know -- foreign territory! wink ), but pulling up some station plans and the satellite image on Google Maps it appears to be entirely island platforms. So walking down the ramp to track level at the end of platform 1 would leave you in the little triangle of "no man's land" between tracks 1 and 2.

If that is where he walked, then where does this "recess" business come into the picture? The platform ends would also be clearly visible on the CCTV I would have thought.

The conductor rails at stations are usually placed on the far side from the platform, and that certainly appears to be the case for both platforms 1 and 2 at Vauxhall. So after reaching ground level at the end of platform 1, he would be between two sets of tracks with the conductor rails on the far side of each set.

So did he then attempt to cross over one of those tracks? Or did he keep walking farther along between them into the narrowing gap, perhaps to where a conductor rail switches sides due to pointwork?

Either way, I don't see where the "recess" parts comes into the picture, or where he was trying to get to. I find it hard to believe that any grown man could not realize the danger of electrified tracks and would actually relieve himself on or near to the live rails.

I'm wondering if what actually happened was that either while looking for somewhere to go or on his way back he tripped or stepped on a live rail, even though all the reports seem to suggest otherwise.

Overlay the satellite image & zoom in and you can see the platforms and tracks at Vauxhall:

I found this picture with a little searching:

This is looking north on platform 3, the train on left being at platform 1. So after walking off the end of platform 1/2 to track level, where are you going to go? (The BTP reference doesn't say north or south end, but the other end will be similar.)

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
I've gleaned some more information from somebody who was in contact with railway staff via another forum, and the pieces of the different reports are now falling into place a little better.

Vauxhall station is elevated on a bridge structure over the roads below, so there are parapets and at one point a high wall immediately behind the track for platform 1. You can just about see it on the Google satellite imaging if you zoom in -- platform/track 1 is the one on the far left.

Apparently the man was seen on CCTV walking off the end of platform 1/2, then crossed track 1 to get to the side wall, so that he was then on the third-rail side of the track. He then disappeared from view into the one the refuges in the parapets intended for permanent-way workers. That's where the newspaper reports have gotten the "recess" business from.

This is the view looking south along platform 1, although I didn't get whether he walked off the north or south end of the platform, but it gives an idea of the layout and structure:

The northern end of platform/track 1 can be seen less clearly the last link of my previous post.

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