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or does anyone else find it astonishing that London Underground still says trains are being delayed by "a person under a train"

(87 Posts)
quesadilla Wed 17-Jul-13 11:33:49

OK so I know its a factually accurate way to describe the situation... but in this world where people are often so sensitive to things that could offend others and officialdom goes to such great lengths to use polite euphemism where possible, that a public suicide, with all the horror, misery and mess that involves, is described so graphically like that, publicly, to millions of people, seems really jarring to me.
It seems a little like having a receptionist at a GPs office shouting across a packed waiting room "are you ready for your abortion?" or something. Not saying its necessarily offensive, but I still find it jaw-dropping...Has anyone else noticed this or am I just being oversensitive?

SinisterBuggyMonth Thu 18-Jul-13 08:39:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trills Thu 18-Jul-13 08:31:58


I think that using the rather antiquated phrase is their way of euphemising it.

t's when they start using phrases that you know they've never said before that you should start to worry.

desertgirl Thu 18-Jul-13 08:30:30

The preferred way of referring to death in Dubai, at least among the (majority) Indian community, is 'expired'.

It sounds to me like a pot of yogurt or something and am always afraid an inappropriate smile will surface.

Don't see a problem with the 'person under a train' reference but there are always the selfish travellers who object to eg a flight delay because of very sick infant (with equipment) being boarded en route to hospital - there will always be nasty comments from those few.

MackerelOfFact Thu 18-Jul-13 07:36:41

I think the terminology is fine. It covers all bases regarding intent and survival, yet makes it clear that the delay is due to the need to remove a human, alive or dead, from the tracks.

IME, TfL tend to use 'person under a train' but National Rail use 'fatality', 'incident' or 'trespassers on the line' to cover the various eventualities.

Tapirbackrider Wed 17-Jul-13 17:47:44

There are some members of the travelling public who don't give a fuck about anything or anyone - as long as they can get to their destination then all hell can break loose

I was once stood on a cordon outside Kings Cross stn during an evacuation for a bomb threat, and had to restrain more than one person trying to get through the cordon, determined to get to their train - as if trains would be running!

microserf Wed 17-Jul-13 17:43:26

No, I think saying person under a train is just right. It reinforces the severity of the situation, makes people less likely to have a go at the station staff, and indicates how long you can expect the train line to be out of action.

Did anyone see the tube documentary they had a while back? I felt very sad for the drivers and tube and other staff who had to attend these incidents. It must be awful.

Worriedmind Wed 17-Jul-13 17:30:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ubik Wed 17-Jul-13 17:12:55

Sorry posted too soon

The other point these announcements may be fir other staff as well as passengers to let staff know the actual situation - a body under a train will probably trigger many, many processes some that passengers wi definitely not be aware of.

ubik Wed 17-Jul-13 17:11:04

That announcement has never bothered me. The fact the poor driver has hit someone has bothered me. A lot.

I don't understand the point of the op

mrsballack Wed 17-Jul-13 17:05:06

I can't see the problem with the announcement. We have it drilled into us that passengers want to be told the truth.

You'd think it would stop people having a go, but sadly that's not the case. Having dealt with the aftermath of many a 'person under a train' incidents, I can say that most of the public give a small sigh and find another route. But there are plenty that yell at the staff and shout and scream.

yamsareyammy Wed 17-Jul-13 16:54:36

But I wonder, becscertainstar, why there are so many "person under a train".
And I could be wrong, but I think it is precisely because it so obvious what has happened.
Suicides often happen in clusters.

samandi Wed 17-Jul-13 16:09:59

I think it's fine.

I mean, obviously, everything isn't fine ... many people will be delayed on their journeys after all :-(

becscertainstar Wed 17-Jul-13 15:10:53

I'm a Londoner, so I hear it a lot. Whenever I hear 'person under a train' I take a moment to pray for that person, for the driver, and for any staff involved in the rescue/recovery of that person. Then I pray for two people I knew and cared for who committed suicide in this way. Then I say a prayer of very fervent thanksgiving that I recovered from depression. If I heard 'an incident on the line' I wouldn't say those prayers.

If you don't believe in prayer then I guess it makes no difference - just me talking to my imaginary friend in the sky smile but those beliefs are important to me and many do believe and would prefer to be prayed for at that moment.

On a more practical note I'm sure that people give the staff less grief if they understand why they're being delayed. It jolts people out of their 'but I'll be late for that meeting' mentality and into 'thank God I'm alive - that poor soul'.

yamsareyammy Wed 17-Jul-13 14:58:30

Because of my post of 12.03pm, 60sname.

I think it is a good announcement, there is no need to sugar coat the situation; its clear and its factual. Its announcement that is sadly heard all too often but at least then you put your own frustration into perspective and realise that for some people the day is unimaginably awful.

MrsOakenshield Wed 17-Jul-13 14:51:06

sorry, haven't read whole thread but surely 'person under a train' is an accurate and concise thing to say if, at the time of the announcement, it's not known if it was an accident, suicide or even, I suppose, murder, and if the person concerned is dead, alive, seriously injured or just a few scratches.

It's a way of saying there could be a substantial delay that is not the fault of LU. I think LU staff can get a hell of a lot of abuse when there are delays and perhaps this stops most people (except the utter wankers) having a pop at staff.

catsmother Wed 17-Jul-13 14:43:18

I have heard "fatality" when it is, and "person under a train" when either it is a fatality - but perhaps the announcer wants to "soften" the true facts - or when someone's been seriously injured.

Either way, it's semantics .... when I hear anything alluding to people under trains I just used to feel very sad, and yes, more sympathetic to the delays - in a similar way to being in a vast tailback, and then you pass burnt out cars and realise your day hasn't been so bad after all.

These days however, when I hear such an announcement I wonder if my son who's a London BTP officer is involved, and exactly what awful things he's seeing and/or having to do ........ the way it's described is the least of my concern.

60sname Wed 17-Jul-13 14:41:58

yamsareyammy Why does it have to be 'all sorts'? Maybe someone's death shouldn't be lumped in with leaves on the line and signal failures at Willesden Junction.

AvonCallingBarksdale Wed 17-Jul-13 14:40:18

IMO YABU, but that's also a lot to do with me hating euphemisms for death. When DFiL died, people talked about us having "lost" him, or him having "passed away" confused No, he died. It's very confusing for children especially. Straight, plain talking tis best.

yamsareyammy Wed 17-Jul-13 14:37:55

"Person on the track" sounds better. Could be all sorts then.

SocialClimber Wed 17-Jul-13 14:33:44

Well, they could say it literally if you'd prefer..."operatives are currently picking limbs and brains up from the front of the train, to a mile down the track which is the distance it usually travels. Please note this will take a while because a body usually gets obliterated when hit at speed. The driver will be requiring counselling shortly after, as will the operatives scraping the person off the track."

I think I prefer "person under a train."

defineme Wed 17-Jul-13 14:26:17

I was on a crosscountry train with my 8 yrold ds when a man jumped in front of it(thank god my ds was facing me as the body hit and cracked the windscreen-very brutal). The train leaned to one side and ground to a halt and thenThe poor guard ran up the train shouting'we've just killed someone! Then we could hear him saying into the radio that the driver had run off. When the transport police and paramedics arrived there was much talk of getting the body off the tracks.
I have no issue with this. They all did remarkably well in a horrific situation. I do not expect the sensitivities of my child to be taken into account when a person has died: my child comes way down the list of priorities.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 17-Jul-13 14:25:58

YABU for all the reasons mentioned above - and I think it also reminds us to

a) be careful on a busy and crowded tube platform
b) be mindful of others, notice anyone who seems distressed.

Bubbles1066 Wed 17-Jul-13 14:23:32

they say a fatality here. So sad when I hear it. When I was commuting it was all to common unfortunately.

WafflyVersatile Wed 17-Jul-13 14:20:02

Apparently it's not that failsafe as a suicide method. People end up mangled but not always dead.

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