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  • Writer's pictureBarry Michael Aldridge


As we come to the end of Rail Safety Week, here, Flotec discusses the need to beware of the third rail.

An image depicting the dangers of the third rail on a train track which carries 730 volts and is a substantial risk to trespassers
Beware of the Third Rail

So, what exactly is the third rail?

The third rail is a conductor placed alongside the additional two rails and provides electric power to a train as it passes.

The UK has the largest third rail network in the world.

Trespassing is a major concern. Not only is it illegal but also, incredibly dangerous for those that do it.

People who work on the railway such as the Flotec engineering team are fully trained to behave safely around the third rail.

Trespassers, however, may not be aware of the danger it poses due to its inconspicuous appearance.

What are the dangers associated with the third rail?

The third rail carries a whopping 750 volts of current. The DC current that runs through it is three times as powerful as the electricity found in a house.

If a person is to step on or touch this rail, their 70% water mass will act as a conductor, pulling them in and not letting go until the power is switched off.

The voltage is of such power, it can easily kill. Even if somebody were to survive, it is most likely to leave them with devastating and life changing injuries.

You really don’t want to be going anywhere near this harmless looking rail!

There are many hazards on and around the railway with the third rail being an easily overlooked one.

Network Rail is running a campaign called You vs. Train which is targeting teenagers to hammer home the dangers present on the railway.

Other such dangers include overhead lines and being struck by a train itself.

Some serious advice.

With the Summer holidays almost upon us, it is wise to reinforce all of the hazards associated with trespassing on the rail network and support Network Rail in its mission to raise awareness to younger people.

You can get involved with Rail Safety Week using the hashtag #RSW23


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