Lauren asked in Cars & TransportationRail · 1 decade ago

How can you die from the third rail?

A girl from my community recently died while walking on the tracks and she seemed to slip and fall and die on the third rail. What I don't understand is if it was just her leg that came in contact with the third rail, why didnt she survive and just have her leg amputated? Does electrocution kill you fast?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Have you ever thought about why birds are able to sit on very high voltage power lines and not be even shocked?

    The only time you will even be shocked, let alone electrocuted, is if any pary of your body is touching the earth or something that ultimately touches the earth.

    In other words, if you had the ability to fly and you decided to touch the third rail or even a power line while the rest of you body was suspended in mid air, theoretically you should feel nothing.

    The girls leg came in contact with the third rail but the rest of her body was touching the earth. Electrons will do anything to find their way to the earth. Electric rail gives off a positive voltage and electrons want to make their way to the earth (negative). If you are not touching the earth in anyway, the electrons won't pass through you as there is no way to get to a negative source.

    This is true for most of the time unless there is other factors present, such as bad weather which can act as an invisible line that establishes a connection between you and the earth and therefore you will be electrocuted.

    I can't explain the actual science of it very well, but you can do a google on this.

    Source(s): This is something very interesting that very few people know about. Here's a star.
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  • 3 years ago

    Touching The Third Rail

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  • 1 decade ago

    If she were not grounded at some point, she could have lived. But as the electricity travels through the body, the rhythm of the heart is changed or even stopped. Voltage does not kill, amperage does. But it takes both to get through the skin into the conductive flesh. There is a pipe heating system in the plant where I work that has only 18v but 10,000 amps. You can touch the wire and your skin will protect you. But if you have a cut, then your skin no longer can keep the electricity out and you'd get fried. Trains take many amps to power the very large motors, so death would be almost instant if someone were to touch a third rail.

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  • 3 years ago

    Third Rail Electrocution

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  • 1 decade ago

    The best practice is not to play on or near the tracks at all! Trains can be quiet believe it or not! The third rail carries a electrical current and when grounded completes a circuit. Your friend completed the circuit when her leg came in contact with the third rail giving the electricity a path to flow through. Yes Electrocution can kill you very fast. This why during the advent of electricity states used this form of death for prisoners who committed murder or some other ha-nous crime that required death for punishment for many years; the electric chair! And there are states to this day that continue to use this form of punishment for those prisoners on death row. The higher the voltage the more dangerous it is! It not only kills you, it will cook you as well.

    Source(s): Railroad employee, electrician
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  • 5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    How can you die from the third rail?

    A girl from my community recently died while walking on the tracks and she seemed to slip and fall and die on the third rail. What I don't understand is if it was just her leg that came in contact with the third rail, why didnt she survive and just have her leg amputated? Does electrocution...

    Source(s): die rail: https://biturl.im/yIcYI
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  • 1 decade ago

    It's 750 volts in the third rail, that's three times domestic power that can already kill you. Her leg came in contact with the 3rd rail and another part of her body must have come to earth or to one or other of the running rails - result - frazzle.

    I'm sorry your friend is dead, but had she paid more attention she'd still be alive today.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Electrocution shoots through your entire body upon contact rather than just spreading through a limb. The third rail produces enough voltage to kill a human being, that's why we were all warned.

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Actually electrons flow from earth(-) to the third rail(+).

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  • 1 decade ago

    thats like getting hit by lightning i think, the electricity wouldn't just go through the leg, its going to go all through the body, if enough goes through your heart your dead, anytime you get shocked even a little shock like from a prank lighter or pen electricity goes through your heart just not enough to effect you

    also remember, they used to and maybe still do in some places, kill prison inmates by the electric chair in a death penalty or at least give it as a choice, just plain electricity enough to kill you

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