Train surfing- the act of riding on the roof or sides of a moving train- has picked up steam in many places. The clear danger and illegality can make the adrenaline rush that much stronger for many, along with the speed and the chance for free ride.
But in Indonesia, officials are so sick and tired of surfing freeloaders that they’ve taken an extreme measure to scare them away- hanging concrete balls over train tracks to knock anyone riding on the roof clear off.
The problem is that the crowds packed onto the roofs of Indonesian trains aren’t there for fun; they’re trying to get to work. Many who need to travel in and out of Jakarta for work cannot afford the daily ticket; some ticket holders cannot find seats inside, the BBC reported.
The balls will hang 16 inches above the roof of the train, installed at train stations and occasional crossings. They are the size of grapefruits, and a direct blow to the head could easily kill a train surfer, in addition to knocking him to the ground. Whether or not they will actually deter the hundreds of “roofers” who ride the trains every day remains to be seen.
This isn’t the first attempt by Indonesian officials to stop the practice, but it is the most extreme. Train roofs have been coated in oil and barbed wire, as well as red paint to mark free riders for easy identification. Not to mention the fact that dozens die every year riding on train tops, from falling off or being electrocuted by overhead power cables.
That’s not to say there isn’t an upside to riding in the open. “We like it up there, it’s windy, really nice,” one man told the AP.
Then, there’s always the wild side to train surfing: