Screwing up is never the ideal way to become the centre of attention but I guess at least this guy did it in style. If you are going to make an idiot of yourself by taking the wrong road then you may as well add some bells and whistles by getting on at the wrong end of your train and driving it the other way. At least by embellishing your offence you give the Disciplinary Board something to get their teeth into.
I’m not sure what that poor sod was thinking but some very basic errors were made. As I’ve blogged in the past, drivers are sent out in all sorts of states and some of those are not necessarily the best for concentrating on driving. In this case he wasn’t helped by the lack of safety measures on the line – at a crossover it’s generally better to have a signal and trainstop to prevent somebody reversing like this. There are a number of signalling problems on the Northern Line and I’m curious as to whether the result of the LUL (and no doubt HMRI) investigations will lead to this being amended.
I hope this guy gets to keep his job, even if he gets dipped to CSA for a while. Despite the outcry in the press, it really is easy to make basic mistakes sometimes. It’s often only pure dumb luck which prevents these from becoming incidents. An event happens and the driver reacts, often they are so rattled that they forget a simple, yet blindingly obvious step. For example, this evening I nearly ran over somebody in my train. Nothing I could do as he was trespassing on the track in the dark. While I reacted correctly to the incident itself and informed the Line Controller, I completely forgot to inform the Signaller. On many lines there is dual working and a Signaller will run one bit and a Controller run another. I was somewhat shaken by having nearly killed somebody and simply forgot who ‘owned’ the bit of line I was on. In this case I was merely reminded of the correct protocol but potentially the situation could have escalated into a serious incident and I’d have been found at fault for not following the correct procedure. OK, mitigating circumstances but I’m still in the wrong.
As it was I breathed a sigh of relief and got on with the rest of the day. Nobody’s perfect, especially not me and mistakes will happen. But as with every problem I encounter or mistake I make I’ll try to learn from it and avoid it next time. Because next time it might be the smallest action or slip on my part which costs me my job or has me facing criminal charges. As is often said by drivers: This is the hardest job in the world to get and the easiest to lose.