By Terence de Layed
Travel chaos hit London this morning as a train at Paddington Station went off the rails. The train, believed to be a First Great Western service, was found leaning against the sidings slurring a song by Abba and stinking of whiskey.
“He’s had a tough time of it recently,” said Driver Thomasa Tanken-Gene, “What with increasing fares, passengers getting upset at services, the government seeming to think all trains are slow and trying to replace them with often needless high-speed services at great cost to the taxpayer due to subsidies but for networks run by private companies so we never get that money back. He’s had a lot on his mind and I think he just had to blow off some steam.”
It raises legitimate questions about how the welfare of our public transportation is cared for. First Group, who own the train, are known as ruthless, exploitative profiteers. Could these increasing pressures be harming our trains’ mental health? Dr. Aldous Head, research psychologist at the University of Bridgeford seems to think so.
“This is textbook human pressure behaviour being exhibited by a train. It’s quite remarkable. Almost everyone has that one friend who, when times are tough they turn to the bottle or the bong or the pill or the powder and absolutely wreck themselves. This is what this train did. I think we need to take more care to assess the pressures trains are under and ensure that we are providing adequate support for their welfare.” The esteemed psychologist told me.
Driver Thomasa would seem to agree. “People think a train is just a hunk of metal and bolts. But any driver will tell you they are more than that. Each different train has its own quirks, its own personality. Yet we work them as if they were all alike. We suggest that those trains that can’t keep up with the pace we, humans, set for them are weak. Is it any wonder they start going off the rails?”
Bosses at Paddington expect to have normal service resumed by the evening, however what is ‘normal service’? If it is the relentless pushing and cajoling of innocent, hard working trains, I say no. If it is the endless pressures to work harder, better, faster, cheaper, whilst a group of people in suits drive their Jaguars to work, and sit in their offices and gouge money from the system, milking government subsidies, pleading poverty but getting bumper bonuses, while trains suffer – I say no.
It is time we stood up for our trains and our rail infrastructure. It is time the people took back control of their networks and ensured trains were given the respect and care they deserve. Stop trains going off the rails!