Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pram vs Train

If you live in Australia and see any news media, you've seen the footage of the most recent incident of pram vs train. I use this phrase flippantly because this little boy is in hospital, but it seems that he will be ok, and it's the second time such an incident has occurred and the kid has survived (and it's been caught on camera).

This time, however, rather than just gawking at the footage, there are murmurings about what can be done to prevent such incidents. This little boy should be fine, but obviously it would have been better for everyone if it hadn't happened.

The first suggestion is a change in pram design, which I initially poo-pooed, until I remembered recently attempting to put the brake on someone else's (childless) runaway pram at the park. The main pram I (used to) use has the world's easiest brake to operate, but not all of them do. This is probably not a silly suggestion. Brakes need to be easy to use, and they need not to let off by themselves, which has even happened with mine on one or two occasions.

I'm also kinda pleased that "more education about holding on to the pram" wasn't mentioned. Obviously, that's ideal, but when there's more than one child in the picture, it isn't necessarily always possible.

Another suggestion was "deadman's brakes". I don't know whether this refers to a brake activated from the train or the platform, but I noticed when I was in Tokyo that they are in the process of erecting barriers with doors on all platforms, and on those that don't have the barriers, they have emergency stop buttons on the platform. At the very least, we should be thinking about similar barriers, and emergency stop buttons.

However, I wonder what the camber on the platforms is? It seems that simply having a slight rise (enough to make things roll away, without causing problems for mobility devices) towards the edges of the platform would help immensely. It would require the addition of drains on some platforms, I suppose, but it seems like a comparatively simple solution. A lot of platforms are just asphalt, so this could probably be achieved, if not trivially, at least without requiring complete reconstruction.

No comments:

Post a Comment