The London Paper today has a story (unfortunately not linkable) about a man named Tim Burke who pulled a man to safety from tube tracks at Gloucester Road. Apparently the man fell down there during a row, and was frozen rabbit-like at the sight of an oncoming train. Burke says:
I instinctively went to help. I jumped down and grabbed him but he was rigid with fear. I led him across two tracks and tried to lift him up and then people on the platform lifted him up to safety.
While I admire the getting on and solving the problem attitude, what confuses me about this story is that neither man was electrocuted by the live rails. The tube uses a four rail system. I find it implausible that it’s possible to fall onto the tracks, and be led across two tracks, one of which was presumably the central live rail, without getting a zap. The central rail is at -210 Volts DC. I’d expect a nasty burn at least.
It’s important to know, because my instict would have been to stay well clear of the fallen man and advise others likewise. It’s easy to judge the relative dangers of approaching trains, but the danger or not of live rails remains a mystery.