One track mind: Russian teen hi-jacks tram

A 15-year-old boy has temporarily had his dream come true – for 40 minutes he took control of a tram, having hijacked the vehicle during a workers’ lunch break and successfully driven along the line for several kilometers. RIA Novosti / Vitaly Belousov
A 15-year-old boy has temporarily had his dream come true – for 40 minutes he took control of a tram, having hijacked the vehicle during a workers’ lunch break and successfully driven along the line for several kilometers.

­The boy gained access to an empty tram wagon in the Chelyabinsk Region in Russia’s Urals while the driver and ticket officer were out for lunch. The boy then drove the wagon along the line, slowing carefully at every stop to let happy ticketless passengers on and off.

As soon as the employees discovered the loss they quickly blocked the moving wagon by switching the rails. And called the police.

“The boy is a real tram fan,” explained the deputy director of the city tram department, Galina Tsoi. “He has been a frequent guest in our workshops, and has made friends with all the drivers and locksmiths. He’s even studied the tramway maps via the internet. He dreamt of working on one. Having noticed an empty wagon, he most probably couldn’t help himself.”

The tram fan did not cause any damage to the vehicle, nor the department, except for some lost revenue from fares. Neither did he break any equipment. He also gave no resistance when police caught up with him.

Police have to open a case against the teenager, but officers hope he will be punished only lightly due to his age, absence of previous convictions and any malice in actions.

This is not the first case of a tram hijack in the region. In January 2011, a former employee of an electric transport department in another city of the region, Magnitogorsk, made a similar attempt. But he managed to drive only 500 meters, while the schoolboy covered almost 4 kilometers.