If you’ve ever had to use public transportation, it’s not always a pleasant experience. Amtrak’s and railways during rush hours are often noisy and crowded. Spoiled by being afforded the option to travel exclusively in my own automobile, the few experiences I recall, leave me traumatized by scattered recollections of ripe smells and explicit conversations. Sure there are some positives, but what they are escape me upon writing this story.
Given my experiences, I am not surprised to discover that some commuters have found new ways to enjoy their comment and gets some thrills at the same time. Apparently a new brand of surfing has risen from commuter railways called, train surfing. The idea is to escape the mundane crowd who subject themselves to the depression of mass transit and packed commuter carriages.
‘Train surfers’ get on top of carriages and ride them from station to station clinging to the metallic roof tops and getting intimate with the overhead wires and lights that color their travels. 17 year old James Larkin was one of these ‘train surfers’ and was in fact, a pack leader or trend setter for others who aspired to the antics.
James attended De La Salle College after graduating Camberwell High School in the Sydney are and was working long hours as an apprentice builder around the time of his death. He worked hard all week and played even harder on the weekend. He was about to turn 18.
The evening of James’ death he was headed out to the city to celebrate a friends 18th birthday. The party went till late and then James and several friends set out to get home. After having no luck hailing a cab, the crew decided to ‘surf’ the commuter train home. Still impaired by alcohol they took to the rooftops.
Picture: Supplied/Trevor Pinder Herald Sun:
After riding through several stations somehow Larkin got too close to the overhead power lines, became entangled and was subsequently shocked to death. Two witnesses claim that others were with James at the time of the electrocution and that his body remained at the train station terminal for two hours before being transported to the coroner’s office.
Police in the area say they are aware of ‘train surfers’ and report that they have warned Larkin and others about the dangers. Since his death James Larkin has become immortalized on Facebook. People are calling him the “Ripper Kid“. Larkin once referred to himself on Facebook as the “Kelly Slater of train surfing” and his brother Josh added to the social network’s posts from fans, “You better be watching over us from up there now cause now I’m living for both of us and where guna need all the help we can get”.
Josh also added,”Anyone who met you for more than a second is truly blessed. I’d do anything for another minute with you…We will never forget you and you will always be in our hearts. RIP little brother I will always love you”.