back to article Woman sues rail line for 'exploding' toilet

A woman is suing Chicago's regional rail system for injuries sustained when a toilet she used "exploded" underneath her. Artist's (tasteful) interpretation of an exploding toilet. In a complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, Julianna Mandernach accuses the Chicago Metra line of negligently allowing public …


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  1. Total Skeptic

    maybe that's a fetish

    someone walked in and caught her and she claimed, no it blew up

  2. Puck
    Thumb Up

    Wonderful, wonderful illustration

    just dripping sheer 'verité'!

    The woman's ordeal sounds exactly that. I think the, er, sanitising of the illustration only serves to reinforce the horror of her experience!

  3. Camilla Smythe


    Clothes failing to repair and replace toilets and suing companies for resulting damages.

    Only in America.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not so outlandish

      Holding a company responsible for maintenance and repairs is one way to ensure that these repairs take place. Without the threat of financial consequences, many companies would simply allow their equipment to deteriorate.

      In this specific case, much depends on how long the problem had existed. If the breakdown had just happened, then this woman has no case. If this condition had existed for longer - many hours or days - then the company should at *least* have locked the door or posted a sign warning against use.

      Certainly, the US is highly litigious. However, that doesn't make all lawsuits frivolous.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I could be wrong but...

        I think the reference to "Clothes failing to repair and replace toilets" may have been humour...

        No? Suit yourself!

  4. Prag Fest


    I love that picture.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    What a load of

    ... well, excrement.

  6. Magani

    Might I be the first...

    ... to say this story is full of sh......

    No, I wouldn't do that.

  7. solid gold suleyman

    leave a present for the next person!

    Simple to avoid this, just don't flush, and if you're like the people at my company, don't even bother trying to hit the bowl beforehand.

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      ewww No don't do that!....

      ...especially on the train... I went to use the loo on-board a South West Train from Waterloo the other week and this appeared to have been going on judging from the "mountain" that was left as evidence!

      Looks like I had a lucky escape, could of got covered in kittens had it blown up!

  8. The Beer Monster

    Proof indeed

    Shit happens.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Soon you will have "Maximum load 2,000kg" on American toilets, just like we have in lifts LOL

    What about a reinforced toilet for those with such a big butt that might make the toilet "explode"

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      A correction..

      The passenger's weight didn't force the toilet to explode, it was when she flushed, the toilet exploded.

      Living in Chicago, I am amazed that anyone had the guts to go in to use the toilet in the first place.

      Not the most sanitary places to take a dump

      I choose Paris because well, maybe it was a fetish thing gone wrong?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Ah! I didn't know water could "explode" ... what would be in the toilet to cause it to explode?

        Is it where Sadam was hiding his WMD?

    2. Martin


      "Soon you will have "Maximum load 2,000kg" on American toilets, just like we have in lifts LOL"

      LOL is not a punctuation mark, despite efforts to the contrary by the kids of today.

  10. Maverick

    can I be the first to request?

    Playmobil reconstruction - has to happen

    (can I annoy the moderatrix twice in one day? possibly so . . )

    1. Pigeon

      You are the first.

      I don't think there is a Playmobil toilet. Maybe a Barbie toilet could be crudely fotoShoped in.

      1. Sabine Miehlbradt

        Yes, there is

        No excuses, now.

  11. Craig 28


    Baleful Bog Bowl Blowout?

    Think this happened to John Prescott once when he was back in opposition in the early 90s. I recall Have I Got News For You saying "if you find a politician covered in his own effluent amusing... then shame on you."

  12. Il Midga di Macaroni

    She should see the average station dunny out here in the colonies...

    ... And I don't mean the bus shelter on the platform which the drunks are using as a dunny.

    Anyway, didn't the Mythbusters do something about exploding toilets? And conclude that you'd have to deliberately blow one up to make it blow up?

    Grenade for obvious reasons.

    1. Andus McCoatThen

      Myth Busted...

      That was actually two different myths they tried involving toilets and ignition.

      The first was the old gag of the wife using solvents to clean the bowl, and the husband launching himself using a match and 'flammable fumes' from the bowl he was seated on while smoking.

      Thoroughly busted.

      The second was a variation on that theme where (IIRC) the bowl at a gas station was cleaned (or had petrol disposed into) the bowl, and a punter ignited Dante's Inferno by answering his mobile while he wasn't.

      Also quite busted.

      On a moving train, it is possible that the plumbing system is designed poorly so that the sloshing in the holding tank could slosh back "upstream" and if the valve in the toilet is open at just the wrong moment... Bloosh. Most systems like that in buses or motorhomes are designed with a trap to prevent such unpleasantness. I have no information about rail carriage plumbing however.

      Mine's the one with the magazine labeled "Best read in private" in the pocket.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      You CAN get splattered

      You can get splattered if your toilet connects to a macerator (known around here as a "masher") which grinds everything up into a wet brown sludge, then pumps it at high pressure so it can go UP ten-odd metres or along forty metres, either into a disposal system (fancy) or a stream (non-fancy).

      If the pipe is not secured, or is damaged, the results can be spectacular.

      I don't however envisage this being used on a train. Don't they tend to empty pretty much straight down?

  13. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Was it a single or double flush unit?

    Inquiring minds need to know.

  14. Robert E A Harvey
    Dead Vulture

    oh dear

    'baleful bowl'?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HIV danger ?

    I wonder whether she could have been put at risk of HIV ? Could it be transmitted vua toilet water from HIV positive person to someone else ?.

    1. theSensibleGeek

      This is why we have sex ed. HIV is transmitted via blood, semen and vaginal lubrication... I suppose it's theoretically possible for there to have been a *ahem* crap-ton of blood in that toilet at the time, but come on... Use google before making an asinine comment.

      1. Annihilator Silver badge
        Thumb Up


        You missed breast milk as the 4th transmission vehicle. Other than that, spot on.

      2. Anonymous Coward


        Faeces are made from blood.

        1. Annihilator Silver badge

          Faeces made from

          Nice try - dead red blood cells. Bit of a difference.

  16. Paul Renault


    Rise Of The Merde?

  17. The Dorset Rambler
    Thumb Up

    It's not a bug, it's a feature...

    Big Jobs iEnema.

  18. The Indomitable Gall


    Ooooooh... the Rock Island Line is a mighty good road.

    The Rock Island Line is the road to ride

    The Rock Island Line is a mighty good road

    There's a woman on the shitter,

    Pulled the chain came back and hit 'er.

    Gonna need a lot more paper

    On the Rock Island Line....

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Rock Island Line.

      I wonder if their defence in court will be:

      "If you want to ride you gotta ride it like you find it"

      The laws of Artistic License demand it.....

  19. John Irwin
    Thumb Up

    Have You Ever Taken A S*** On A Train

    Maybe she should have watched this first, courtesy of Armstrong & Miller

    If you don't laugh then there is something wrong with you !

  20. asiaseen

    Puts a whole new meaning

    on "blow job".

  21. John Dougald McCallum

    Exploding Bog

    I thought that they sucked like airline ones do although in the "old days" BR ones exited on to the track which it always asked you not to use whilst stationary at a station.

    1. Jan 0

      I guess you don't use UK trains nowadays?

      There's lenty of evidence to the contrary on most stations that I use.

      Just look at the tracks where the train bogs stop. We must be

      grateful that most users heed the notice and that the paper soon

      takes on the colour of the track bed.

  22. Andus McCoatover

    I'll drink to that!

    Bottoms up!

    (Ok, ok. Ms Bee's probably off this weekend, I might get away with it)

  23. V 2

    Oh dear..

    The shit really hit the fan-ny this time

    Coat please... (wet wipes in the pocket)

  24. kissingthecarpet
    Thumb Up

    The Illinois Enema Bandit

    I've heard he's on the loose!

    He just be pumpin' everyone up with a bag full a' Illinois Enema Bandit juice

    Lord, the pitiful screams of all those college educated women.......

    (or maybe a covert 'jenkem' session that went wrong?)

  25. Simon Buttress

    @John Irwin

    There's something wrong with me.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    So,could this be construed

    As bowling for dollars?

  27. Martin Usher

    The other problem with british style train toilets

    This "empty onto the tracks" design is also used in places such as India. As the story above says a lady gave birth prematurely in such a toilet, the infant slid down the bowl onto the tracks causing mother to jump off the train and rescue the infant. (That's adreneline for you -- she probably would have stopped the train with her bare hands if necessary!) Both mother and daughter seem to be doing well....

    Back to the real story which is not about misdirected excrement so much as Metra being one of those local agencies that seem to exist just to get sued.

    1. Andus McCoatover

      Not just British..

      Finnish trains the same. If you need a 'number-2' on's trains, when it's parky outside (like, -30), and if the seal on the loo - press that pedal, watch the world go by* - ain't perfect, it'll bring tears to your eyes. Oh, don't forget the windchill factor. It's like the end-of-your-Old-Cigar's been subject to -50, and the contents of your 'nads have been preserved for your great granddaughter. No wonder Finland's the most sparsely populated European country...("Did you buy some condoms, darling"? "Nah, I just took a dump on the intercity")

      * Is the bottom falling out of your world? Take EX-LAX ©, and the world falls out of your bottom.

    2. Svantevid

      Empty onto the tracks

      Mind you, I haven't used Croatian Railways since late 1990s... but 12 years ago we had the same system.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    I must be missing it ...

    ... but what is the IT relevance here?

    1. CatNinja

      This is a title

      You Sir are a tit.

      Get out of Bootnotes and leave it for people with a sence of humour.

  29. lansalot
    Thumb Up


    Just a flash-in-the-pan, nothing major. Move along, move along...

  30. Fred 1

    Never flush in a tunnel

    On the old BR trains where the flush just opens up a hole in the floor, the pressure pulse from travelling through a tunnel can be enough to turn the crapper into a fountain.

  31. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: I must be missing it ...

    Can someone tell him, please?

    Where are they all coming from? It's been weeks since anyone asked this and now they're everywhere like a plague of toads who don't know what's going on.

    1. Captain TickTock

      Re: I must be missing it ...


      Or just sh...IT?

      Have you seen "Turkish" style toilets?

      No seat - they're not much to go on...

  32. alyn

    Do not rain..

    "Do not rain, while the train, is standing at the station", obligatory quote from Douglas Adams.

  33. DoorHandle

    Crap day

    She must have been having a crap day.

  34. Rod MacLean

    What I want to know is...

    Did the shit hit the roof?

    ...and if so...

    Did the shit hit the fan?

  35. Anonymous Coward

    SIgn seen in toilets on virgin trains last week

    Do not block the toilet with sanitary products and nappies, use the bin provided.

    Spent ages trying to get the bin down there but couldn't manage it. Must be in the technique.

  36. Michael 28

    Risk Assessment????

    A MANDATORY requirement when using a public convenience on any form of public transport.

    (And some train / bus stations and Airports too)

    Did she make a visual check of the pan for blockage and potentially biohazardous material?

    Did she make sure the door was capable of being secured?

    Did she ensure there was sufficient sanitary material ( bog roll) to ensure she didn't place her fellow passengers at risk?

    etc etc.....

  37. Is it me?

    Didn't Mythbusters

    Explode that myth?

  38. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!
    Thumb Up

    Free whitepaper – Intelligent Server Consolidation with System Center

    Hahahaha, excellent contextual advertising. :D

  39. misterPaul
    IT Angle

    RE: plague of toads

    Alexa harbors some clue to the cause of this plague.

    A recent influx of additional readers compared to 3 months ago. The cause? One can only assume the masses have realised the impending mechanised apocalypse is fast approaching, and must demand IT angles on any and all writing. Thus they hope to glean some clue as to how our soon-to-be cloud based overlords can be defeated.

    Either that or people are becoming ever more pedantic twirps.

    On an unrelated note, the average Reg reader, according to Alexa, is a middle aged, childless, male. Shocking.

  40. Svantevid

    Pecuniary nature

    Thank God for Merriam-Webster... I thought I needed it only for Neil Gaiman's expression "tutelary dentistry."

    Otherwise, no comment... fellow commentards have covered the topic quite nicely. :-)

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