Reports: Concrete balls keeping some off Indonesian train roofs
A train passes through a newly installed iron support with hanging concrete balls in Indonesia last week.
January 23rd, 2012
01:04 PM ET

Reports: Concrete balls keeping some off Indonesian train roofs

Is the threat of getting their heads smashed by a concrete ball enough to prevent people from riding the roofs of Indonesian trains?

Depends on whom you ask.

"From our monitoring so far, the roofs of the trains have been clean (from riders) after the concrete balls were put in place,” a spokesman for state railway company Kereta Api Indonesia, Mateta Rizalulhaq, told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.

The devices erected over some train tracks are called Goal Bola-bola, or goal balls, as they resemble soccer goals with the grapefruit-sized concrete balls strung from chains. The balls are about 10 centimeters, or 4 inches, in diameter and are painted silver. They a strung in groups of a dozen each over each track. The first ones were deployed Tuesday.

But in a Globe report on Saturday, Eman Sulaiman, chief of the Bekasi city station, near which the first set of concrete balls were strung last week, said some people are still trying to ride, donning motorcycle helmets for protection.

Passengers are climbing onto roofs after trains pass the obstacles, according to a report Friday in the Jakarta Post.

Eman said more obstacles will be erected, with larger balls, the Globe reported.

“Roof surfers will hit the balls, and the balls are enough to crack someone’s head,” Eman is quoted as saying. [cnn-video url=""%5D

Yosep Adi Prasetyo, a spokesman for the National Commission on Human Rights, criticized the railway last week for deploying the balls, saying they could exact a harsh punishment for a minor infraction.

But railway spokesman Mateta said the balls are actually protecting riders, the Globe reported.

“Roofs of trains are from the onset not designed to support people, and there have been many victims already,” he is quoted as saying.

The Jakarta Post reported late Monday that a man fell off the roof of a train and was hit by a train traveling in the opposite direction, killing him instantly.

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

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Filed under: Indonesia • Railroads • Transportation • World
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. BOMBO ©

    What's that non-descript bundle under the center post? A dead Indonesian train roof rider?

    January 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I thought the Exact. Same. Thing!

      January 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Quincey9

      I think so. You can see the blue helmet on the ground to the lower left.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I can see a brown paper bag, a white bag and a stick. Perhaps they were mixing the concrete for the post. The train didn't cross the balls yet, and if it did, the momentum of the train and rider upon impact would have sent the rider a lot further down the track. I doubt it's a body.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. THThite

    Maybe they should just bolt chairs on top of the train with seatbelts and charge tickets for them. Bonus profit, and they can ride the roofs like they so desperately want. more money, happy terrorists

    January 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Waterboard Pele

    "The Jakarta Post reported late Monday that a man fell off the roof of a train and was hit by a train traveling in the opposite direction, killing him instantly."

    Because of the balls?

    January 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kyle788

    I got some concrete balls for ya, CNN.

    January 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rooney©

    The concrete balls seem a little extreme but hey, whatever works. Why can't they just use the swinging doors on all the trains?

    January 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |

    "If you weren't born with balls, it was for a reason."

    January 23, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      "if you *were* born with balls, it was for a reason.

      January 23, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    OBVIOUSLY not me.

    January 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. **cosmicVox *

    ...fer cryin' out loud... life for the "little people" ain't tough enough... 🙁

    January 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Condor

    Tiatanium balls are best thats what im packing

    January 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    Yes. And that *reason* isn't anal by design. It is anal by choice. Just ask Jerry Sandusky about his choices. Or was he "born that way".

    January 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Sandusky is a pedophile. He is NOT a homosexual. Pedophiles are not homosexuals either. Get off the internet and read a book or something!

      January 24, 2012 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Parnum

    Many are calling it a death penalty for a relatively minor crime....and it is just that – attempted murder of hitchhikers instead of having the police take them off. It is very bad.

    January 24, 2012 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      The criminalization of the poor is a recurring theme in history, it seems

      January 24, 2012 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      this is not criminalizing the poor. its criminalizing theft.

      When you board a train without paying for it you are stealing. end of story.

      I think an electrified plate or membrane on the roof of the car would much better. That way its stopping people from getting on the train, where as the balls just stop them from staying on the train.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. CNN

    CNN finally grew some balls. Now if they could stop trying to pick our candidates and send our youth to war, we'd make some head way.

    January 24, 2012 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. blubbertongue

    Let's go to the video tape...can't wait!

    January 24, 2012 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kornfed

    Wish we could do such things in the United States to thwart rule breakers. If we did and somebody got hit with one of those balls, then they would no doubt sue the train company, the city and the state. They would probably win millions.

    January 24, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
    • bob

      yes, those rule breakers must be stopped!!! im sick of always being a victim!!

      January 24, 2012 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Grey

      Keep voting in liberals, and then whine when they do exactly what's expected. We legal system in this couontry has been diverted head long into the constitution, and the constitution has been losing for the past 50 years, and then some. True American Democracy is long gone, and will likely never be seen again.

      January 24, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
    • lordpet

      Snipers would also help, cause you could rotate their position so the rule breakers wouldn't know where they were stationed day-in/day-out. I mean, you just can't go anywhere in the USA without a bunch of rule breaking foreigners riding on top of an Amtrak train.

      January 24, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. rjo3491

    ...I read the headline to this story not having a clue what to expect!

    January 24, 2012 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Renee

      Lol. Me too. I clicked on it thinking "I have to see what this is."

      January 24, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Seamus

      I half expected to see a train with a bunch of cement boulders rolling about on the roof. :O

      January 24, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
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