January 18th, 2012
07:16 AM ET

Indonesian railway stringing concrete balls to deter roof riders

Indonesia's state railway, Kereta Api Indonesia, has begun stringing concrete balls over rail lines to prevent people from hitching free rides on top of its trains, according to local news reports.

The devices are called Goal Bola-bola , or goal balls, as they resemble soccer goals with the grapefruit-sized concrete balls strung from chains, according to a report in the Jakarta Post.

Trains in Indonesia are often overcrowded.

The railway said it resorted to using the concrete balls after previous anti-roof-rider efforts - including greasing the roofs, spraying roof riders with colored water, and detentions and fines - didn't stop the practice.

But a human rights group says the balls expose violators to a punishment as severe as death for a minor infraction.

“Picture this: If a student has to take the train, he or she would face the threat of being killed by the concrete balls. Now his right to get to school safely is simply violated,” Yosep Adi Prasetyo, a spokesman for the National Commission on Human Rights, told the Jakarta Globe.

The balls will only be used on lines that run locomotives, according to the Globe report. Lines with electric trains will use swinging doors that will allow the electrical connectors through, but not roof riders.

Adi told the Globe the real problem isn't freeloading riders, but that there aren't enough trains to accommodate demand.

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Filed under: Indonesia • Railroads • Transportation • World
soundoff (333 Responses)
  1. caw

    Dana, it was the last line of the story. You can't expect people to actually read the WHOLE article before commenting can you? (that was sarcasm BTW)

    January 18, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • JuneCleaversBeaver

      Who reads every word of every story before commenting? Only non-troll losers do that. I couldn't stop laughing at the metal image of a bunch of freeloaders getting skulled by the concrete balls. What fun!

      January 18, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Billy Bob

      I hope someone films this and it ends up on youtube. Instant viral video

      January 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hank A.

      You could place bets on how many get taken out...kinda like bowling.

      January 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sean

    wow can't wait to see video of people being blugenoed to death fof a train.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. db

    American railroads use "Telltails" prior to obstacles such as bridges and tunnels to warn roof walkers to get down or face death. These were usually stiff ropes that were spaced about 4 inchs apart and swept across an unsuspecting person. They worked. Then the Railroad's also hired Railroad Police which had more power than the regular police on the railroad. They carried clubs and guns and ejected anyone trying to get a free ride on the trains, whether it was moving or not. The hobos that plyed the rails in the USA knew them all too well and how to avoid them.
    In the areas that this is a common practice, like in the article, it has been an accepted tradition and common practice for over a hundred years an will not stop becasue of these balls. Anytime an obstruction is raised, the riders will find a way to get around it.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. Grog Says

    Grog says riding on top of train bad idea.
    Grog says riding on bottom of train worse idea.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      As I've said before, I don't usually get involved in US politics, but –

      Grog in 2012 ! A common sense President for these troubled times.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. hjs3

    Gotta believe those things will leave a mark....

    January 18, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. Melanie

    I really like the Safety Shoes he's wearing.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • damniel

      Those are steel toes!

      January 18, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Kingofthenet

    Some Piano Wire strung across would work wonders!

    January 18, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. JOHN

    Indonesia's stores running low on Bolt cutters...

    January 18, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. Fontenot

    “Picture this: If a student has to take the train, he or she would face the threat of being killed by the concrete balls. Now his right to get to school safely is simply violated,” Since when is riding on a roof of a train considered safe?

    January 18, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. crabman

    tickets please

    January 18, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. randy

    Electricly charged roofs of the trains would do the trick. Needless to say they look like rats. Do you think the world is over populated? Who would want to live like this in the filth and over crowded places. What they really need to do is put birth control in the water.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. SGW

    as someone who has traveled on Indonesian railways many times, I know for a fact that they oversell the coach seats, knowing that there is room on the roof for the overflow. the first time i bought a train ticket, the man was nice enough to warn me, if I wanted to ensure that I wouldnt have to ride on top I should pay the extra 50000IDR ($5 USD) for the assigned first class seating.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. BOMBO ©

    Concrete balls are a bad idea. They should make the balls out of something more dangerous. A steel ball with spikes. Or a ball formed from spent uranium from reactors. How about a ball of water buffalo dung?

    January 18, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. randy

    Over population. Its destroying this planet. It will all be over soon.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • NYC

      We are not over-populated, we just crowd too many people in too small an area, all over the world.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. pastus smegmhbreatt

    This is too funny. I hope to see some youtube videos of the roofriders that are slow to catch on.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
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