||[Jul. 15th, 2002|09:26 am]
The Love Bug
On Heart this morning...
"... and there are delays on Great Western Trains and Thames Trains going into Paddington this morning, apparently there are cows on the line."
The excuses get worse!!!!!
Reasons, not excuses.
OK, so you're not gonna get cows on the line at Royal Oak, but where animals do break down the rail/field interface (fence), they can be a bit of a bastard to move!
Whose responsibility is the fence in this kind of situation? Railtrack or the field owner?
Maybe Railtrack, maybe the field owner. Neither party wants cows on the line. Should Railtrack prevent the cows from coming on their property, or should the famer protect his cows from escaping the field?
Its the old debate over the railway interfaces with the rest of the world. Level Crossings - people abuse them, 'jump the lights', forget what to do if their car breaks down. Who do you point the finger at? Railtrack, for not building a flyover for the track? Car drivers? (no, they're the public, they can't possibly be at fault).
Taking the example of a car breaking down *on* a level crossing - the first thing to do is get out of the car, and call the signalbox immediately. He'll put the signals to red, if he can, and try to avert danger. What's your average car driver going to do? Try to restart their car, and think about saving their car more than themselves. On the East Coast Mainline, trains can run at over 100mph. You can't see the train in the distance, and think you can get your car working again. Suddenly... barriers close, you panic, you become irrational, and *blam*.
I suppose somebody will come up with an argument of "There should be a longer gap between the barriers closing and the train arriving". That irritates drivers, who will then jump the crossing.
Coming back to the bovine/rail issue - there are other possible causes. What if some idiot left a manually-operated foot crossing open, and cows strayed on to this? It is Railtrack's responsibility to provide the crossing, but you can't have remotely-monitored crossings everywhere - it just costs too much.
This country as a whole scoffs at any nonstandard, or maybe even amusingly non-obvious reasons for problems! This is incredibly bad behavoiur - we then lose the ability to be rational about things. Look at the way the media have converted "Leaves on the line" from being a reason for delays (trains must run at a lower speed) in to an amusing joke every autumn. Leaves fall, trains crush them in to a pulp, it rains, and it just so happens that crushed leaves are quite slippery. Trains are now built from lighter materials, so 'slippery rails' becomes a very important issue.
* steps down from soapbox *
i don't think you'd really enjoy being in a train that hits a cow at 100mph. Neither would the other passengers seeing chunks of red hit the windows... and then the realisation you're on a train with a dead driver... nice.
2002-07-15 11:58 am (UTC)
No, thats not a bad excuse!!
I once heard of a train being cancelled due "staff problems", the reality was that the driver and guard both turned up, but the guard had been sleeping with the drivers wife, they had a big bust up and got sent home, hence the train was cancelled.
If you want to see all the excuse have a look athttp://www.nationalrail.co.uk/realtime/fs_realtime.htm
its amazing what you see sometimes!!
pfft. there was a time when every time i gota train to cardiff it would stop for ages in a field and go "Oh sorry, people on the track." Some people must really have a death wish!!
There are some stupid excuses but the cow one seems believable..