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A Park Street riddle: A man falls on the subway tracks and his leg comes into contact with the third rail, but he lives - how?

A. He has a wooden leg. The Globe's Emily Sweeney reports on the 1955 fall her grandfather took onto the tracks at what was then Park Street Under. Afterwards, he made the news around the world.

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I would've guessed he was ok because the tracks had no power and free shuttle buses were running. However, he swiped his Charlie Card and went down to the platform because he didn't know about the buses thanks to terrible signage and no staff.

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Well done, Ryan!

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So in technical terms he was a poor train conductor?

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... but the third rail potential is 600 volts; touching it with a (dry!) shoe or with a (dry!) clothed body part is probably* not going to kill you the first time you try it.

*don't try this.

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I'm a sailor peg
And I've lost my leg
Climbing up the third rail
I've lost my leg!

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But he wasn't conductor material.

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Q: Why did Boston and Maine refuse to hire this guy?
A: They already knew that he was a poor conductor.

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Speaking of Park Street Under, the 1979 Boston TV show by that name starring a young Steve Sweeney is quietly credited as the inspiration for Cheers. Produced by WCVB TV-5, it was one of the only half-hour sitcoms made by a local station outside of Hollywood. Longtime WBZ radio overnight host Bob Raleigh used to conduct an on-air quiz game beginning with, "If we were to ask the first ten commuters getting off the train at Park Street under the following question..." The "under' part of the Park Street name, still in every day use into the 80's, has since faded. It was nice to see it again in the old articles.

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... did it smolder a bit?

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