Indonesia Deploying Concrete Balls to Deter Train Surfers
Indonesia has gone to imaginative extremes to try to stop commuters from illegally riding the roofs of trains — hosing down the scofflaws with red paint, threatening them with dogs and appealing for help from religious leaders.
Now the authorities have an intimidating and possibly even deadly new tactic: Suspending rows of grapefruit-sized concrete balls to rake over the top of trains as they pull out of stations, or when they go through rail crossings.
Authorities hope the balls — which could deliver serious blows to the head — will be enough to deter defiant roof riders.
“We’ve tried just about everything, even putting rolls of barbed wire on the roof, but nothing seems to work,” said Mateta Rizahulhaq, a spokesman for the state-owned railway company PT Kereta Api. “Maybe this will do it.”
Trains that crisscross Indonesia on poorly maintained tracks left behind by Dutch colonizers six decades ago usually are packed with passengers, especially during the rush hour.