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When you drive a train you learn to be fairly pragmatic and stoic about certain things. Often there’s damn all you can do about a situation. People leaping about near or in front of your train? Well apply the brakes and the whistle and sit back (maybe close your eyes if they are very close) because trains take a while to stop. The same goes for signals failing right in front of you. There’s often little you can do. There’s only so much a person can do with the brakes they are given.

Driving in the wet can be an interesting experience. I’ve mentioned before that it’s a bit like ice-skating. Thin metal wheels rolling on thin metal rails. Add in plenty of lubrication and the train tends to skid a bit if you brake too hard. Most of us get adept at learning how to apply teeny amounts of brake and slowly increase that until the train starts to slow. Most of the time that works.

Except for yesterday when I was at the top of a very long hill and there was a cloudburst. Real apocalyptic rain. I first realised there was an issue (as opposed to enjoying a welcome relief from the heat and humidity) when I whizzed round a corner and felt the wheels lock as I touched the brakes. Uh oh. There’s two things you can do at that point. The first is to have a bit of a worry and then slowly try to regain control of the train without trashing the wheels too much. Once done you can drive at a slow and sensible pace instead of hammering downhill and having to do it all rather quickly (and potentially unsuccessfully) at the bottom.

The second option is to water ski down the hill. ūüėÄ

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