Old-fashioned call box helped avert Philly tragedy

AP News
Posted: May 16, 2013 5:02 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia transit officials say an old-fashioned but vital piece of safety equipment helped avert disaster when a stroller carrying a toddler fell onto train tracks.

An alert passenger at the west Philadelphia station used a call box to notify the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority about the emergency Wednesday afternoon.

Gale Walker took the call at SEPTA police headquarters and said Thursday she was stunned by the report. She immediately told dispatchers to hold the eastbound Market-Frankford Line.

Surveillance video shows the stroller rolling off the slanted platform and falling a few feet to the tracks below. As the toddler's mother jumps down to save her, a bystander uses the call box speakerphone.

SEPTA officials say call boxes are used infrequently because most people use their cellphones to report emergencies.