Photo: Flickr/Thomas R Stegelmann
In recent weeks, two men have been pushed to their deaths onto New York’s subway tracks.The deaths of those men highlight the most gruesome aspect of subway operators’ jobs, The New York Times reports today. In 2012 alone, 55 people died from being hit by New York subway trains.
Subway operators are trained to “observe the results of the impact” so they can give information to first responders, an MTA spokesman told The Times.
To somebody who has never been in such a situation, it’s difficult to imagine the trauma of driving a train that kills somebody. In 2009, the Washington Post detailed the “lingering mix of horror” and hopelessness train operators endured after they strike people, the vast majority of whom had committed suicide.
One train operator, Bruce Evans, had watched a dozen fatalities unfold in front of him.
“After the first time you strike somebody, you just turn your head and wait for the impact,” Evans told the Post.
Another train operator, who declined to give his name, told the Post of a woman who was airborne when his train hit her, causing her to smash against the window “like a bird, spread-eagle.” He didn’t drive for seven months.
In New York, train operators are given three days off if their trains kill somebody, but many take more time off if they’re enduring psychological trauma.
“As cruel as it makes it sound, for the individual [who died] it’s over,” former train operator Curtis Tate told The Times. “It’s just beginning for the train operator.”
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