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Celticsddtacct t1_j92nxyp wrote

People will look back at stuff like this in 300 years like we look back at putting leaches on people to suck out their bad blood. It cannot be that crazy of a project to put up barriers


Pattyooooooo t1_j92urin wrote

idk it feels pretty crazy that anyone could reach the third rail right now. you'd have to go down onto the tracks which is obviously not where anyone should be


nebrija t1_j94xxfz wrote

Yeah anyone in their right mind wouldn't go down there.


Sayoria t1_j92pua9 wrote

For Boston, city of 100 year old motorized sardine cans that run every 45 minutes, this is definitely a big ask.


willzyx01 t1_j92oiau wrote

Barriers have to be placed on the platforms. Drunk people will break said barriers. Old trains can't stop exactly on their marks. Barriers are expensive. MBTA doesn't have any money.


Celticsddtacct t1_j92p015 wrote

While all true, safety barriers are used in other parts of the world to great success. Just another example of the sad state of the mbta


nerdponx t1_j92qc0t wrote

This just seems like a low priority investment compared to getting the trains actually working consistently and paying conductors fairly. this is a rare accident anyway, it just doesn't seem worth it from a cost benefit perspective.


anarchy8 t1_j92z859 wrote

There wouldn't be any conductors if we had modern trains and signaling systems.


spedmunki t1_j94ms3l wrote

Copenhagen trains are completely automated and run 24/7


WaitOk4606 t1_j95c5o2 wrote

But that's in a first world country


IDCFFSGTFO t1_j95qje1 wrote

When you roll over and play dead for the Nazis, you end up with really good rail systems.


WaitOk4606 t1_j960xy0 wrote

Spare me. America has committed plenty of war crimes and atrocities and we don't have a functioning transportation system.


spedmunki t1_j9a68a8 wrote

Their metro began operation in 2002, dingus


IDCFFSGTFO t1_j9a9v8o wrote

Sure and they were the first trains they'd ever seen.


Doctrina_Stabilitas t1_j9ajs92 wrote

The unions at other cities like Toronto where the capability has been introduced right against that

New York can run on one perso opposition but the union successfully fought the elimination of the second conductor with a massive strike a while back


free_to_muse t1_j93djy2 wrote

Lots of subway systems work wonderfully and don’t have safety barriers. Why pick on the MBTA.


Anxa t1_j944fmx wrote

It's kind of a "yeah both" situation. Safety barriers would be better. But absent them, it's very much you have to be trying to touch the third rail.

Not directly relevant but I remember one time the red line broke down between central and Kendall, and we had to walk back to central. They had these alarm things set up on the third rail all over the place that presumably would light up if they detected current. None of us went anywhere near it regardless.


Sheol t1_j9354y1 wrote

"Things that work everywhere else won't work here because we're special"


psychicsword t1_j96mbga wrote

No one is saying that they won't work. They are saying that investing millions into them right now isn't the best investment when there are far worse deficiencies in the MBTA system.

When we have had people fail through stairs to their deaths at MBTA stations, then the risks of the being dangerous electricity in areas you are clearly not supposed to go isn't the problem we should be fixing.


Anustart15 t1_j94h7ue wrote

>Old trains can't stop exactly on their marks.

That's not really an issue, it's more that we have different train sets with different numbers of doors. Also that we have such a backlog of much more important maintenance that it really isn't a priority


resonant_waves t1_j92yv8b wrote

Putting up barriers would be a huge undertaking for the MBTA as it requires the trains to stop in the exact same spot every time they pull up to the platform. This would require replacing the existing signaling system and train cars. Much of the T uses an outdated analog signaling system, which is only now being replaced with a digital system. Likewise much of the T's rolling stock is decades old and won't be fully replaced for another decade or two.


StarbeamII t1_j93p37u wrote

You can make the doors on the barriers wider than the doors on the train to give you some leeway. There are also vertical barrier doors that don't care about door positions.


bakgwailo t1_j93o3g9 wrote

Well, technically they are fully replacing the rolling stock and signals on the orange and red as we type. Unfortunately it's all gone to shit and years behind.


TedToaster22 t1_j93epom wrote

They're called platform screen doors and they're standard in much of the world. Safer for riders and cheaper for agencies as less incidents like this tragic one occur. Since it's such a slam dunk it's unlikely we'll ever do it here.


shyjenny t1_j93k0vu wrote

I have seen them, but mostly on monorail systems
There aren't platform screen doors in LA, NYC, Chicago, DC, most of London
Trivia: Invented in Boston


BACsop t1_j93z6zl wrote

Platform screen doors are pretty much standard on new metro lines in Europe and Asia nowadays, and many cities have retrofitted old lines to add platform screen doors. North America is unique in not moving in this direction--the only project with them on the continent I'm aware of is the new Honolulu automated metro.


alexbaguette1 t1_j99dbmi wrote

The Toronto Ontario Line is meant to have them, however knowing Toronto, it will probably be 2050 before it's finished.


BACsop t1_j9ao5bz wrote

Interesting--I didn't realize this!


ppomeroy t1_j946yl7 wrote

MBTA cannot do it because the current rolling stock varies. On the Red line they have 2 different types with varying measurements and the CRRC will make it 3. Orange has 2, Green has 3, and eventually 4. Until all of the rolling stock has the same measurements they cannot even consider platform gates.


TedToaster22 t1_j94l6gj wrote

Old orange line cars have basically been unofficially retired, green line type 10s will replace the entire fleet, new red line cars will eventually be a full fleet replacement. Blue line you could do it now. Point is, PSDs should be part of the respective fleet replacement projects IMHO.


pinklittlelamb t1_j93apou wrote

We still use leaches in the hospital. Happened this week in my world lol


KayakerMel t1_j945bvs wrote

Well, yes, but not for the same reasons as a few centuries back. Although I wonder how often blood letting accidentally treated the condition (compared to how often it worsened and killed people).


Pyroechidna1 t1_j958e8z wrote

I’d rather electrify the commuter rail than invest in platform edge doors


FineIllMakeaProfile t1_j97p2cu wrote

But... Barriers would also be a bit like the package warnings "food will be hot after heating."

It shouldn't be necessary to put up a barrier when the tracks are so far below the platform. If you're going to trespass on the tracks you're risking your own life. I hate the part of our society that has made it necessary to anticipate every stupid thing some rando might do.


alexbaguette1 t1_j99dwsl wrote

While it would be nice, ignoring the issues with rolling stock, doing such a think would cost several billion dollars (based on case studies of other systems which have considered adding them). As of now, if the MBTA had that money, it would be better spent elsewhere making sure we actually have a functioning system where trains don't burn to the ground.


DooDooBrownz t1_j9c656u wrote

in 300 years? more like "what the f is this electricity?"


alligator412 t1_j938i2n wrote

Just curious, why is it safe to cross the tracks on the park street station? I assume those are protected somehow?


andr_wr t1_j9390lp wrote

There's no third rail on the Green Liner - it's overhead power.


Trpdoc t1_j93lgs9 wrote

What the hell does 3rd rail mean. Everyone talks about it like it’s so obvious


enyopax t1_j93ln6z wrote

It's a live rail, meaning it has an electrical current running through it. It's what powers most subways. There is usually a plate that contacts it from the train but if you accidentally (or purposely) touch it, it will light you up.


75footubi t1_j93qj5k wrote

Fun Fact: the third rail on the Boston systems (red, blue, orange) almost always don't have covers. This is not something that's a part of their design standards. On every other subway system I've done work for, they at least attempt to keep covers on the third rail.

As someone who's worked as a consultant/contractor for several different transit and rail agencies, MBTA's approach to ontrack safety is downright terrifying.


TiredCr0codile t1_j93vsvs wrote

What's the deal with no covers? Does it require retrofitting the train?


75footubi t1_j93w7wk wrote

I don't know the exact details of why MBTA doesn't have them, but in the other systems I've worked for, the little paddle on the rail car that contacts the third rail does it on the underside, so a cover doesn't interfere with that


TiredCr0codile t1_j943ho9 wrote

The MBTA is probably the poorest run govt agency I've encountered so far.

3rd rail incidents on MBTA are pretty rare however. If someone illegally enters right of way and falls on one, that's on them.

They typically de-energize whenever contractors need to work on ROW.


75footubi t1_j94ds7e wrote

>They typically de-energize whenever contractors need to work on ROW.

The procedures/"lock out/tag out" process, at least from the contractor POV seems very loosey goosey and there's a lot less emphasis on exclusive track occupancy and defined on track protection methods than I'm used to.


TiredCr0codile t1_j94rv77 wrote

I don't even know what their lockout tagout procedure is. Whenever I work out there I work as if it's live


75footubi t1_j95ect8 wrote

Yeah, always work as if it's live, but still, when you're on a hirail vehicle, not being 100% certain that another train isn't going to come on to your track is terrifying


SilentButtDeadlies t1_j95tikq wrote

They deenergize it for non revenue hours service I think, but you still are supposed to act like it's live otherwise you get in a bad habit. Most of the work I've done was during revenue service so it was active. I've met some people who have touched it and lived.


TiredCr0codile t1_j95z0ar wrote

Due to staffing, it's pretty tough to get access during ROW these days


SilentButtDeadlies t1_j9628xv wrote

Yeah, I don't work on mbta projects anymore thank God, but we had several projects get cancelled around the time of the orange line shutdown due to all the staffing shortages.


Bald_Sasquach t1_j965yop wrote

I would guess so actually. I haven't looked for the contact pads on the orange or red lines but you can easily see the blue line's plates rubbing along the top of the third rail, sparking every now and then. They stick down and out from the train so yeah a cover would be in their way.


AccomplishedGrab6415 t1_j96mk75 wrote

"pickup shoes" as they're called use the top of the 3rd rail on all of our heavy rail lines.

Blue of course only uses 3rd rail between downtown and Bowdoin. It switches to overhead catenary at airport.


hannahbay t1_j943kw1 wrote

I didn't even know you could cover those, seems like it would be a no-brainer for safety?


75footubi t1_j94efwy wrote

It's less about rider safety and more about trackside worker safety. Even platform barriers are more about protecting the train drivers from the trauma of someone stepping out in front in a suicide attempt than protecting riders from doing so.


AccomplishedGrab6415 t1_j96mw0j wrote

It's one more thing they'd have to maintain and reinstall when doing track work. I've heard stories from the inside about parts being deliberately left off trains after being repaired that don't risk safety or operation, but will protect the mechanicals from premature failure and weather corrosion. I'm told they leave them off because "it's easier."


Tedroe77 t1_j93q43v wrote

Or pee on it. Don’t pee on it either.


GtrMike20 t1_j93sy4x wrote

🎵 Don’t whizz on the electric rail! 🎶


TiredCr0codile t1_j93vy8u wrote

You could walk on it as long as you don't have one foot on the ground and jump onto it (not recommended) haha


andr_wr t1_j93qu04 wrote

Subway trains get electric power from an electrified rail or line placed somewhere in the tunnel. Many trains get power from a third rail because they run inside short/small tunnels. Other trains get their electricity from an overhead power rail or power line because the tunnels are taller/larger.

The third rail is a rail that is usually built next to and higher than the two rails that support the train's wheels. The third rail will be on one side of the train but doesn't always stay on the same side of a train. Typically at stations, the third rail is farthest from the platform.

No matter if a train gets its power from a third rail or from an overhead wire, most subway train's get about 600 volt direct current electricity. Some subway lines have lower voltage power and others slightly higher. Because of this high voltage it is very dangerous. (For reference, car batteries are 12 volts, for example.)


Trpdoc t1_j93yj3f wrote

Ding ding ding best answer!!


wcruse92 t1_j93lnn9 wrote

It's the rail that powers the train.


Trpdoc t1_j93mgwv wrote

Seems kind of unnecessary, like why can’t they just hide it


trowdatawhey t1_j93mzof wrote

It is hidden after the 2nd rail. You didnt even know where it was until now


Trpdoc t1_j93nb2f wrote

Didn’t even know there was a second rail!


NotAHost t1_j93s2rj wrote

Did you think all trains were unicycles or something?


Trpdoc t1_j93ytzl wrote

Nah bro thought the mice biking were powering it!


Justtryme90 t1_j93x1rw wrote

I mean.. there are two tracks... those are rails.


Trpdoc t1_j93ywni wrote

That all sounds like 1 rail where I come from


Justtryme90 t1_j941hrv wrote

Do you come from somewhere other than earth....?


dogs-and-snacks t1_j93p4d6 wrote

They do hide it that’s why up until an hour ago you didn’t know what or where it was


bakgwailo t1_j93nt46 wrote

It's fairly obvious to anyone who uses a subway.


Trpdoc t1_j93o3i2 wrote

Used a subway for 5 years had no clue


bakgwailo t1_j93q37g wrote

I mean you never noticed all the big signs warning about death and the third rail over the third rail?


Trpdoc t1_j93uqif wrote

Yes I saw it. I just have no idea what it is and apparently nobody else here does either


Se7en_speed t1_j943vee wrote

So an actual answer. There are two rails that the train rides on, these are a few feet apart and you can see them if you look down at the tracks. These are just metal and would be safe to touch (if there isn't a train coming). On heavy rail subway lines (not the green line) the train gets power from an energized third rail that is slightly to the outside of these two riding rails. It's also slightly elevated off the ground so that it doesn't short circuit to the ground. That is how you can tell which one is the third rail.


bakgwailo t1_j94huq4 wrote

I mean pretty much everyone responding to you knows what a third rail is and is explaining it to you.


Trpdoc t1_j94mve4 wrote

The god responses came later


TheSukis t1_j94q1da wrote

They’re not sending their brightest


General_Liu1937 t1_j9z9ujt wrote

Fun fact: Blue Line uses catenary power when above ground after passing Airport. It is dual modular because it is said there was problems with the third rail use being so close to the ocean (Revere Beach and Wonderland).


The24HourPlan t1_j93rtof wrote

Cutting medicare


andr_wr t1_j93zqk7 wrote

What a Boston answer. 😅


The24HourPlan t1_j94d1mk wrote

Every category has it's third rail. For instance, the third rail of r/Boston is asking a serious question with the expectation of receiving a serious answer.


damariscove t1_j94c4ho wrote

Why are we downvoting this comment? Don't we want to encourage curiosity? Especially the life-saving kind?


Trpdoc t1_j94mrr6 wrote

Thank you that was kind of the point of posting the question.


hce692 t1_j9655a4 wrote

Because in the time it took them to write that whiney comment they could’ve googled it


TiredCr0codile t1_j93vnnr wrote

It's on the inner side of track typically (far from the platform). The train has a shoe which pulls power from 3rd rail.

Red line and orange line are powered by 3rd rail. Blue is overhead and 3rd rail. Green is overhead.

About 1 ft tall, very noticeable if you look for it.


hannahbay t1_j943gbw wrote

If you look at the track, there are the two rails that form the track, that the wheels rest on. And then there is a third rail, separate, that provides power to the trains.


Gorlitski t1_j95b6vw wrote

you could have typed fewer words in to google and gotten the answer faster


DickBatman t1_j95dq96 wrote

> Everyone talks about it like it’s so obvious

There's a reason for that


what_comes_after_q t1_j94bbqb wrote

Trains travel on two rails, this is what you think of as a railroad track. Subways can have a third rail. This is not for steering the train, but for carrying electricity.


spektyte t1_j94ynwm wrote

So you have the two rails the train travels on, and then a third "rail" which is really just a thick (like, several inches thick) wire carrying about a thousand amps of current. The train has another wire that drags along this third rail as it moves, drawing current and making the motor moves.

Since it takes about 1 amp of current to kill a person, touching the third rail is usually a pretty quick way to get yourself killed.


Jackpicks51 t1_j95inws wrote

The third is not live constantly only gets you if you touch the third rail and another metal completing the circuit and shocked to death As kids we used walk the third rail for a hits and giggles . . you can walk it just don't touch anything else . 2 feet on the third rail no problem 1 foot on one foot on another rail huge mistake. Did he fall or !!!???. Walking the tracks still safer than train surfing!


Trpdoc t1_j95jq8w wrote

What the hell is train surfing?!!


LadyCalamity t1_j992syy wrote

Riding on the roof of the train. Not really possible in tunnels but dumb kids do it on elevated/outside trains. You can find videos on youtube of kids doing it. I know it was popular in NYC in like the 80s/90s or something, died out for a bit, and now seems to be having resurgence. And yes, kids have lost limbs and even died doing this.


General_Liu1937 t1_j9z99bu wrote

3rd rail is where the train gets its electric feed from. If you see on the tracks, there are 2 rails where the train runs on and a "third rail" that is raised up and parallel that has an electric current running through. The train has a few contact shoes on each car that basically rub against it and gain electric current, allowing it to operate. This is for the red, blue, and orange lines. The green line uses catenary, which has direct contact from overhead wires and uses a pantograph system, rubbing under the wire to gain an electric current.


KawaiiCoupon t1_j93qy22 wrote

It’s so easy to miss and I’m not even 100% sure it’s the one I think it is lol. It also doesn’t seem to be the literal third rail depending on which way you’re looking at it? Idk. Why isn’t it painted red or with like lightning bolt symbols???


eladts t1_j93tx68 wrote

Paint is not a good conductor, so it will render the third rail useless.


KawaiiCoupon t1_j93ubhb wrote

Thank you lol. Well someone more educated than me in this should still find a better solution!


hopefulcynicist t1_j9395vu wrote

Wires are overhead, no third rail.


wittgensteins-boat t1_j966nea wrote

For the Green line.

Orange. Red, Blue lines have an electrified 3rd rail.


hopefulcynicist t1_j96cqn6 wrote

Yep, they were asking about the GL ‘grade level’ ped crossing at Park St.


RailRoad_Candy t1_j92y8io wrote

This is some Darwin type s##t. Was he rescuing a toddler that got thrown onto the tracks?

Excuse me while I jump into the polar bear paddock.


TDKevin t1_j93b0ln wrote

I saw two kids run across the tracks at fields corner, one had to be pulled back up onto the platform when the ashmont train started coming. It was scary as shit


loranlily t1_j94ielo wrote

I recently saw a guy off his face, stumbling and leaning over the edge of the southbound red line platform at Downtown Crossing. There was a train about to arrive and I was too far away to get to him in time.

Another person on the platform grabbed him and pulled him back just in time. My heart was in my mouth, I honestly thought I was going to see him die.


KayakerMel t1_j945nj5 wrote

I was at a Red Line station where a bunch of teens were messing around and one boy purposely jumped down into the tracks. Fortunately he climbed right out, but an MBTA worker came running over to get the kids to knock it off.


PM_ME_UR_LOON_PICS t1_j940o67 wrote

TBF if you're from somewhere that doesn't have trains then you might not have any idea that a reachable stationary piece of metal in the train station can kill you easily.


some1saveusnow t1_j94hwyt wrote

Last time at park street I was looking at the danger third rail signs and they were dirty af and most barely readable. When I was really young in the 90’s they were very clearly readable


anurodhp t1_j93wjg1 wrote

Oh is this the third rail challenge I’ve seen on tik tok?


Zestyclose-Quote-736 t1_j96n2lp wrote

This was a dear friend of my sibling, it was a horrible accident. Please keep everyone in your prayers in this horrible tragedy.


Vegetable_Horror2359 t1_j93gfol wrote

This was the RED line and that is why there are still signs about it everywhere


NoButThanks t1_j94171m wrote

So is this the 3rd or 4th Massachusetts transit related death in as many weeks? 2 Worcester commuter rail pedestrian strikes. This guy. Another possible green line death from a train surfer that I saw here but can't verify.


SnooPineapples8744 t1_j95vqwv wrote

How about something covers the third rail or cuts power to it when the train isn't there.


joeschmo28 t1_j96i1ze wrote

Or we could just not go down on the fucking tracks and touch the thing that’s says do not touch


Cyphen21 t1_j96o5kw wrote

Sounds like a suicide.


Jackpicks51 t1_j99wqer wrote

Yes one night lost a friend who lost his head


Ok-Cat-8959 t1_j9457bp wrote

So this didn’t really happen and the guy didn’t die?