I have this theory. It is, not unsurprisingly, about trains. Trains and statistics.
There are all sorts of numbers associated with trains. Timetables (we *do* have one – never to be shown to the
cattlepublic), duty times, dwell times and all sorts of percentages of trains which must run for certain numbers of hours. It’s all very tedious and I would look with great suspicion on anybody who professed any great degree* of interest in train stats.
There is one statistic, however, which interests me. Buried in the Rulebook there is a sub-paragraph which states that 62% of all trains must have a Leaper. I’m not sure what the reason for having Leapers is – possibly something to do with checking the driver is fully awake and aware of what is happening on the platform. I’m almost positive that Leapers didn’t exist when we had guards to check that sort of thing.
For the most part, Leapers are employed on temporary contracts. You do get the odd over-ambitious punter having a go but mostly they end up in difficulties with bags, limbs or occasionally heads getting trapped. Generally they are students earning a bit of ready cash although there are rather a high number of out-of-work ballet dancers who make a decent living from Leaping. It’s not a bad job really. They get to hang out in a little room just off the platform and free teas and coffees are provided. And nobody minds if the students read or whatever while they await the signal to dash down the cross-tunnel to the platform.
I’m quite the Leaping afficionado. Depending on who is doing the Leap it can be an art-form. You can always tell the dancers from the students and it is rather lovely to see a professionally trained Leaper elegantly dashing across the platform and bounding onboard *just* as the train closes up. The students tend not to take such care over the details and are more prone to being clipped by the doors. And given that the students come from a variety of fields it is not unexpected that some will be less agile than others. Truly, it is a marvellous thing to see a dancer soar sideways through a tiny gap without causing any disruption to the train, driver or other passengers. Though possibly the other passengers are a little startled to have somebody suddenly materialise beside them! here is a good demonstration of how to Leap for those of you wishing to apply for future employment. Good luck!
* Do you see what I did there? 😀