What to do if you fall off the subway platform?

I am shocked that this does not happen more often.

First, don't stand anywhere near the damn tracks to begin with. That should help stop you from falling or being pushed onto the tracks, unless you are a friend of Frank Underwood.

Here's what you do, these two things simultaneously.

1) Get out of the way of any oncoming train, preferably by diving under the platform if there is room for you there.

2) Stay away from the third rail.

Note that the space between trains, if two trains are coming at the same time from opposite directions, may not be sufficient for you to hide. But if I had to be there, I'd probably want to be on the ground as flat as possible, avoiding the third rail. Good luck with that.

This all may depend on which subway system you are using.

For those who are not sure what a subway is, it is a train that runs underground and carries people. If you are in Boston, the underground train is often above ground. If you are in London, it is actually called an "Underground."

Anyway, here is some more advice:

What To Do If You Fall Onto the Subway Tracks

  • Try to climb out with the help of someone who can help hoist you.
  • Lie down between the tracks, depending on the depth of the tracks.
  • Get to the side of the track.
  • Step between the girders that separate tracks (but this involves stepping over the third rail, which carries more than 600 volts of electricity).
  • Try to outrun the train as it stops in the station.
  • “Just about any risk is worth taking," Jim Gannon, spokesman for the Transit Workers Union told the AP, because "if you get hit by a train, your chances of survival are not good."

    MyRedditAtWork: Serious question: If, god forbid, I fall onto the tracks or someone I am willing to risk my life for falls into the tracks and is knocked out - and a train is coming (lets say 30sec away) - what should I do? Are those pits between the rails by the platforms made for people to hide in in a worst case scenario? The best thing you can do is run as far down the platform as you can (in the opposite direction from where the train enters the station) and wave your arms frantically to get the train operator and passenger's attention. Believe me, the passengers WILL be doing the exact same thing, as nobody wants to see you get run over and their train get delayed. If you can get to the far end of the platform, it gives the train more room to stop, and there is a ladder at the end of each platform where you can climb back up -- do NOT try to climb up from where you are. So many people have been killed trying to jump back up rather than getting away from the entrance end of the station.

    Do NOT trust the pits between the tracks --- they are often right next to the third rail which can be just as dangerous (and note that the wooden planks are not designed to hold a human's weight - they are there to protect the energized rail from drips and weather) and the train operator is less likely to see you if you're in there. And don't duck under the train, because most stations do not have enough clearance for the average human. And do NOT jump down onto the tracks to try to save someone else. The best thing you can do is run on the platform towards the tunnel where the train enters so you can get the operator's attention sooner. Waving your arms over the tracks will tell the operator to stop immediately.

    What to Do if You Fall onto the Subway Tracks: Run Away (Seriously)

    Obviously, the optimal choice is to get back onto the platform, often with the help of bystanders. Dramatic subway rescues are somewhat common. In 2009, for example, an off-Broadway actor rescued a stranded man by hoisting him back to safety. (The good Samaritan said his stage role at the time required him to lift and carry other actors.) If you can't boost yourself up in time, look for a space beneath the platform edge. In some stations, particularly in Manhattan, there is enough room between the train and the platform to accommodate a person. If the platform appears flush with the approaching train, you could take shelter in the space between the two sets of train tracks. This is a dangerous choice, though, because you'd have to traverse the third rail, which carries 660 volts of electricity, more than enough to kill a person. A final option is to simply lie flat — there may be enough clearance for the train to pass over you.

    Subway Conductor Tells You What to Do If You Fall in the Tracks

    Source: What To Do If You Fall Onto the Subway Tracks | NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Save-Yourself-from-the-Subway-3809…
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    London's subways are called the Tubes.

    Metaphor for this election?

    "London’s subways are called the Tubes."

    The official signage says "Underground", and it's officially the London Underground, and is referred to by both the public and the agency as the "Tube".

    We have two systems nearby here - BART, a regional elevated / subway system, and the SF Muni, which runs in the City only.

    On BART, the third rail is well outside the tracks, and there is a substantial deep space between the standard gauge (56.5") rails of the line - so lying down might be OK in a pinch.

    Not sure about Muni.



    •Please stay behind the yellow and black platform edge detection tiles. Do not approach the train until it comes to a complete stop in the station.
    •Never sit on the platform edge or touch the outside of the trains!
    •Do not cross the tracks or enter the trackway under any circumstances!
    •If you drop something on the trackway, do not attempt to retrieve it! Contact the Station Agent for help.
    •There is a refuge area underneath the train platform that may provide some protection in the event of an accidental fall onto the track.

    By Bruce Jensen (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

    Speaking as a New Yorker...

    Deal is, if you run to the end, you will likely get out. From the time you can see the lights of the train is usually about a minute or so, and if you are exactly at the halfway point you can make it. The trains are usually 10 cars, by the way, and the trains are about 500 feet long. So you can probably run 250 feet or so in a few seconds, even accounting for the uneven terrain (the center of the tracks is sometimes a kind of pit with the emergency braking mechanism in it, particularly in some Manhattan stations).

    Going between the tracks (assuming you are in a station that accommodates two tracks in each direction) is not a terrible idea, in that as long as you don't step on the third rail you will be okay. The rail actually has a cover on the top so you won't die instantly but I wouldn't step on the thing. There's actually a lot of space there -- between the tracks is where the vertical support I-beams are holding up the roof.

    In an elevated station the whole thing is harder because there's nothing underneath the ties of the tracks -- your foot can go right between them -- so it's harder to run down the platform's length.

    Also, in a number of stations, there are little alcoves on the wall, (some have doors in them) that are built precisely to hold people. If you stand in one of these you would actually be OK, that's what they are for.

    Going under the platform is a bit on the risky side, but that depends a lot on which station you are in.

    And finally, if you are out in Brooklyn, and in the semi- above ground stations (they are in these deep pits) there's a lot more clearance around the trains and if you get to the end of the tracks you can simply step out of the way onto the gravel.

    But yeah, for god's sake don't play chicken with the trains.