Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Railway Tragedy at Westgate

'Your Thanet' reports the tragic death of a 17-year-old boy who fell on to the live rail at Westgate station on Frday evening, just before midnight.

When I first heard about this news, I did ask if the police if they could give me more information, as a ward councillor for Westgate but they declined under the Data Protection Act. Instead, it was my 14-year-old daughter who was able to give me the details and the name of the teenager involved, as it was a conversation point at her Westgate school on Monday.

I'm given to understand that he crossed the line to join his friends on the opposite side but then came in contact with the live rail.

This was a tragic and quite avoidable event and my deepest sympathy and I'm sure, that of the entire community goes to the boy's family. I've seen local children and teenagers crossing the line on several occasions now and other than the railway company offering constant education as to the dangers, I don't know what the solution to the problem is with a railway line neatly dividing our town and gaps in the embankment in between.


Anonymous said...

This is a tragedy, and its difficult to come up with words that might offer comfort to the boys family, other than to say that every parent will be thinking of them.

Perhaps the rest of us can make sure that youngsters, are aware of the dangers of the railways

A train weighs hundreds of tons and takes around a mile to stop, the conductor rail and other electrification equipment is LIVE AND DANGEROUS AT ALL TIMES.

Perhaps local schools could make a point of reminding students of this and other dangers such as those associated with our coastline before holiday breaks.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, one thing is for sure, the lad isn't going to make the same mistake again.

Education is important here and parents do need to keep reminding their youngsters to stay off the tracks whatever the circumstances. Too often, railway stations become a place for teens to hang about at. Railtrack and the BTPs need to be constantly vigilant.

Let's hope this sorry episode is a reminder to others in the area to keep off the track.

Anonymous said...

anon again!

I beg to differ from the general consensus..... everybody is taught not to go anywhere near the rail tracks, especially the 'third' live rail. As I believe, there is a footbridge at Westgate Station for crossing over purposes, and a further 3 possibilities for changing Platforms in a satisfactory manner. All over England kids are defying the basic 'live for life' rule book, and getting zapped by their own stupidity. Whilst I sympathise with the parent's sad loss, I cannot understand why youngsters gather on Railway Stations at near to midnight unless they are doing something illegal.
In near Europe, kids under 18 have to be off the streets by 10 P.M. thus such 'tragedies' are extremely rare. England has an immense Drink and Drug problem, with youngsters, that encourage these sort of false bravado actions.

It is sad, but what causes this sort of kid, maybe from a good hard working family, to do such a thing?

Life is tough, don't make it purposely tougher.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't like to speculate about what part drink or drugs had in this. It is indeed a tragedy, but hardly unavoidable. Frankly I find it unbelievable that anyone could reach the age of seventeen and be unaware that the live rail is a killer. Has the New Labour project really dumbed kids down that much or is it Darwin in action?

Anonymous said...

The kids were out again tonight pretending to be gangsters, aping the mannerisms and language of Jamaican yardies, messing about in the station, drinking booze and the whole place stunk of dope, they will end up schizophrenic, pregnant or dead, who is looking after these kids?

Tony Beachcomber said...

I find it so sad, a lad with all his life in front of him has lost his life due to a mistake or one error of judgement.

My thoughts went back to over 2 years ago. As you may well know I work for the railways.One late night I was working at Canterbury West I could see a lad attempting to cross the track on CCTV. I rushed out I could see his foot miss the third rail by inches. I shouted at him to remain exactly where he was standing which was between the tracks and not to cross the other third rail. He looked at me in surprise when I told him he was lucky he was not dead and the rail was live. Following my instructions I guided him down to the barrow crossing to safety as there was no trains coming. I spoke to him and told him how lucky he was and I asked him why he did it. He explained that he knew the rail was live but only when there was a train coming.

Tony Beachcomber said...

I should have added in my previous comment, that it amazing how many people think the electricity only passes through the rail when the train is coming.When in fact as we all knoww it is permantly on.