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Safety lessons for the subway tracks

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The dark underground tunnels of the New York City subway system have been the stuff nightmares for me and probably many who grew up in the city.

It should be.

It's really dangerous on the tracks with 400-ton subway trains barreling underground. And there's that 600-volt third rail that can stop a person's heart instantly if touched and grounded.

On the average, one commuter a week dies on the 625 miles of New York City subway tracks, say transit experts. People fall, jump on the tracks to retrieve property, commit suicide, or are pushed.

Many commuters stay too close to the platform edge some lean out to look for trains. Subway trains, going around 35 to 40 miles per hour, need roughly one football field length to stop once brakes are applied.

The MTA offered reporters a chance to train on track safety on Thursday in a classroom and then walking down the N line tracks in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The trains were running, but slowed down by transit safety crews with vests lights and radios.

Safety experts say you should never go down onto the tracks unless it is a life and death emergency.

But if you are down there, one way to stay safe is to stand centered in the niches -- those gaps between the support structures parallel to the tracks.

After first looking both ways, since trains are quieter now and in emergencies can come from either direction, we walked down the center of the tracks then the side away from the third rail.

We were told beware the backs of trains since once stopped they can roll backwards. Also, curves can hide a train coming.

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