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So I was rattling along last night happy as Larry when something went wrong with my train. Oh dear.

I’ve mentioned before that when we are in train-ing we often hear the phrase “that wasn’t supposed to happen” as trains break in inexplicable ways. Last night I gazed in puzzlement at the defect and then muttered the immortal phrase to myself. I won’t bore you with the details of the defect but will just say that it was an odd one that logic dictates should not occur.

As there was no safety issue I continued to rattle along while I tried to figure out a workaround to the problem. This was more of an intellectual challenge to pass the time than a real, pressing need as we had so few customers it was easy enough to explain what they should do (nothing) while the issue was happening. I tried a few things which didn’t work and as I reached the terminus I added another minor defect to my list of woes. I fiddled around and fixed the second issue though this meant leaving rather late in the other direction. And as I pootled along I tried something else and lo, it was fixed! Or rather it wasn’t. For as soon as I once more reversed and started driving in the original direction the problem reappeared.

Never one to be bothered by the idea of making a complete idiot of myself, I called the Voices. Although they haven’t all been drivers with experience of fixing defects they do always hear about what goes wrong with the trains and can sometimes offer some good suggestions. In this case I didn’t need advice but did need permission to do something rather drastic to the train – I wanted to kill it.

Some defects are best solved by doing what I call the Windows Option. Turn it all off and then turn it back on again. Trains are similar to PCs in that it can take a few minutes for the systems to be restored fully so killing the thing is not something we are encouraged to do. But as I had some time to spare at the terminus the Voice agreed and told me to keep him updated on whether it worked. So I duly committed foul murder and set about restoring my train to life. During which I just let customers (all three of them) board through the cab since I was too busy to mess around with doors. Heading off in the other direction I realised I still had the defect and called up the Voices to tell them.

I got a different Voice this time who asked me to give him the entire history of the defect. He hadn’t any other ideas but did check the train ID and realised this was a problem we’d had last week. The train had been returned to the depot to be fixed and either was ignored or had somehow become defective again. And while the problem was fairly minor on a wet Wednesday evening where there were only three customers who I could warn, it would cause plenty of confusion and delays on a Thursday morning rush hour. So the Voice did the sensible thing and asked me to take it out of service, dump it in the yard to be fixed and bring a better train back out.

This would be all well and good if it were not for the manager waiting for me on the platform to ask me details about the problem train. This is common when a driver decides to take a train out of service due to a defect. In this situation I’d have thought that if the Voice already knew what the issue was then they could fill in the forms but I humoured him and provided the general story before heading home. Today, I was asked to write a report on the train. I’m now really puzzled by the reaction to this because I only took the train out of service because the Voice told me to. As I was given no time to actually write the report I declined and this gives me a bit of time to come up with a fun scheme. I just have to decide whether to Nuremberg on this or to write something very, very silly. Ideas are most welcome. *weg*

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