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Anti-Suicide train

Encase front of trains with Marshmallow to avoid death during suicide attempts
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A common method of suicide involves jumping from a railway bridge into the path of an oncoming train. The success rate for suicide attempts of this nature are obviously very high. To reduce the suicide rate significantly, my suggestion involves encasing the front of trains with marshmallow. Although this may sound like a crazy idea, think for a minute how it would work.

The person committing suicide places themselves on a railway bridge and awaits the oncoming train. Just as the train approaches the railway bridge, the suicide-ee jumps from the bridge. Now, as soon as they hit the front of the train, the marshmallow will act as cushion, breaking their fall and negating the impact of the speeding train. Not only this but due to the sticky nature of the marshmallow, the person will be safely stuck whilst the train driver brings the train to a halt. Once the train has stopped the suicide-ee can be unstuck from the marshmallow. The advantage of using marshmallow over other soft, sticky substances is that some of it can be eaten if so desired.

Maybe this idea could be expanded upon to include other forms of transportation to reduce death/injury during road accidents?

ccaamgw, Aug 15 2000


       Railway yards are notorious for rats. Rats would eat the marshmellow fluff, and then you'd have non-suicide-resistant trains and more rats to boot.   

       Perhaps this would work better with something totally inedible, like an airbag or a silicon-based gel or vegemite.
Uncle Nutsy, Aug 15 2000

       I just read that last sentence as "... other foams of transportation ...".
jutta, Aug 15 2000

       I forsee a difficulty. The presence of a large quantity of free marshmallow may actually encourage greedy people to leap into the path of the trains at the prospect of a feast.   

       Maybe the marshmallow could be laced with deadly poison, to prevent this. It would also address the rat problem already mentioned.   

       Marshmallow could not be used on steam locomotives, as the heat from the boiler would turn it crispy, and useless as a buffer.
Mickey the Fish, Aug 16 2000

       Just how many people commit suicide by jumping in front of trains where you live anyway? My feelings are that bloody great spikes pointing out would actually be beneficial; 1. Overcomes the risk of only actually getting seriously injured, and 2. Prevents any innocent bystanders from getting hit by bouncing bodies. If they want to go, let them go.
Alcin, Aug 17 2000

       I think so too, Alcin. This at least is a fairly quiet way of doing it, it only creeps out the driver and any passengers who see it. As opposed to the people who have taken to having shootouts with the police to make them kill them...
StarChaser, Aug 17 2000

       Some people will kill themselves whatever you do so for those people there's no point in trying to save them from themselves. But for other people they might only do it on impulse so there might be a point trying to save them. Either way I think some kind of gel would be best. Also, Starchaser I think you are underestimating the effect on the train drivers. I have heard that every train driver in the world can expect someone to throw themselves under their train some day and it really messes a lot of them up.
mirage, Aug 21 2000

       I wasn't underestimating it...but if the difference is the driver and whatever people at the train stop see it as opposed to 50 cops, passerby and news helicopters...I didn't mean it was any less in kind, but less in scope.
StarChaser, Aug 21 2000

       <grin> A doofus-catcher.
StarChaser, Aug 21 2000

       It is particularly important that we prevent suicide where it causes distress to others. When someone commits suicide by jumping in front of a train, the person driving the train suffers huge trauma. Of course, the person committing suicide is also in a bad way but this solution aims to go some way to solving both sides of the problem.
ccaamgw, Aug 23 2000

       Enhh... NYT also ran a an article recently on the Code 12 or something, which is what they call it when someone gets run over by a subway. And because of all that horrible trauma, the conductor of the train, (in addition to drug tests) has to take a wopping minimum of THREE DAYS off of work. I make no value judgments-- it just seems in practice that the trauma is not as great as we might think.
f_kedge, Aug 24 2000

       You're right mrthingy. Perhaps clinics could be opened for the suicidal, you could even pick the way you go. All safely assisted by Dr. K. No damn, he's unavailable, but someone of like mind. Mind you, anyone remember Soylent Green?
Alcin, Aug 27 2000

       marshmallow ??? Seems to me that at the speed a train travels ,the whole idea would fall under the "ton of feathers" theory. Bricks or feathers---a ton is a ton. If you think about it the idea is sorta funny. Imagine--getting killed by a marshmallow covered train!!! Also-the cow catcher was designed to keep a train from derailing,,not protect the cow.
HKUSP9, Aug 28 2000, last modified Aug 29 2000

       there is just one soulution to all these problems but everybody seems to have missed it out. all that needs to be done is several stations that are suicide hot spots around the country should be singled out and at each one a small railway that goes round in a loop could be constructed. it would have one train that has no driver and is always going round and the whole railway could be covered up so people cant see it. i would also like to point out that even on tubes that have two electrified rails suicide death rates are still quite low so in order to address this problem the suicide trains would have giant electrified razor blades to make sure the suicidees die.
jimalbertfitzgerald, Jul 16 2002

       There is a problem with marshmallow that most types are not kosher. (The gellatin is said to be made of pig). Probably a problem for Hindu's and Muslems too.   

       Another problem could be when the train company is sued for dental damages due to unsolicited marshmallow.
pashute, Oct 30 2002

       The suicidal person could snack on the dead rats and bugs while he waits to die from the poisoned marshmallows.   

       Wouldn't you also get people that don't want to die? What if big Bertha is in the mood for some delicious marshmallow and she is passing over a train bridge, when a delicious Marshmallow-Man Linebacker comes lunging toward her? She gets excited, thinks "Mmmmmm...marsh*gurgle*mallow...," jumps in front of the marshmallow hammer and is splattered? Smells like a law suit to me.   

       After bertha, it would have to pass as cherry marshmallow, too, and you just don't see that these days.
ttam, Dec 01 2002

       yah i see definite law suit potential here. Why not just give the suicidal person something to live for & put snack machines with marshmallow crispie treats on the bridges & train platforms?
kissing bandit, Sep 18 2003

       I'm sure if someone that is going to commit a suicide will see a train with marshmallowes, will be to surprised to continue..   

       Nice idea
Danny_, Feb 18 2004


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