An ‘operational incident’ to them. Total train wreck to me.

The other week the Wellington, New Zealand commuter rail network was rolling along doing what commuter lines do. And then this happened.

Wrecked train with nose still jammed skywards on the buffer at Melling station, central Hutt, 14 hours after the accident. And no, I wasn't standing in the motorway - I was on the other side. It's what zoom lenses are for. This was hand held, incidentally.

Wrecked train at Melling station, central Hutt, 14 hours after the accident. And no, I wasn’t standing in the motorway – I was on the other side. It’s what zoom lenses are for. This was hand held, incidentally.

A friend of a friend saw it happen. Wham! Mercifully, only two people were slightly injured. I was out of town, but came by that night on my way home and saw the after-match action. It’s the second time in 13 months a train has rammed this buffer.

Look! All fixed.

There! Fixed!.

Personally I’d call this an accident. Would you? I ask because the railway operator didn’t call it that. No. To them it was an ‘operational incident’.

I love English. It’s such a loose language.

We happened to drive past on the weekend. They now seem to have hit on the idea of stopping the train hitting the buffer by putting a power pole splat in the middle of the line. Train can’t fail to ram that first. I can’t help thinking there’s something rather missing in the calculation here – I mean, if you want to stop your train hitting a power pole, wouldn’t it be better to put the power pole somewhere other than the middle of where the train must, inevitably, go? I suppose it’s temporary…but…

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2014

 

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5 comments on “An ‘operational incident’ to them. Total train wreck to me.

  1. symplysilent says:

    I always distrust people who use terms to change a debate. It reminds me of trying to convince my Grand Mother I really wasn’t late getting home from my date because midnight really meant some time before 1 AM. I got grounded for about a week.

    Why are people so dishonorable that they refuse to take responsibility for things they are entrusted to care for, and act as if no one was ever at fault, just like your train wreck.

    Grrrr,

    Silent

    • Corporate spin doctoring. Years ago I had a run in of sorts with their national public relations manager who objected to my referring to the collapse of one of their train services as a collapse. It was shut down through lack of rolling stock caused by ongoing problems commissioning new trains. A politicised issue. The PR manager insisted that as they had been able to put buses on, the train service hadn’t collapsed. Whereas my point was that the fact that trains weren’t running. What the railways now offered was a bus service. A fact. All down to terminology.

  2. When a power pole is placed directly within the train tracks, I believe “operational Incident” can accurately be replaced with “Raging stupidity”. Even if it is temporary. Also, the train engineer has an unobstructed view of the tracks, by design. How can they miss a huge block of concrete? Things that make you go, “Hmm?”

    • There is an investigation going on about how the driver ran the train off the end of the track. Last time it happened there was no fault found with either train or track. I hope the idea of fixing it by putting a power pole in the middle of the track is a temporary one, though on my experience some of the decisions the rail operators have made over the years, on the face of them, aren’t the sharpest.

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