One of my cherished British Railway History books is a copy of Red For Danger, which charts how railway safety evolved from Victorian times almost up to the advent of the high tech electronic signalling systems in use today.
We had a solar magnetic storm yesterday which apparently crashed the signalling computers on the Manchester Metrolink during the morning rush hour causing huge disruption to services, particularly on the Eccles line yet the original Bury line was allegedly OK. Its pretty clear that electromagnetic solar radiation caused the Italian crash, which may be comparable and the electronic equivalent of the head on crash on the Cambrian Railway at Abermule before WW1. Similarly, Ladbrooke Grove was probably the electronic equivalent of Hull Paragon, and only the other week a DMU ended up ” on the deck ” approaching London Paddington after it allegedly passed a signal at danger, so the problem has not gone away.
Almost every day there are reports of delays an the resultant cancellations due to signalling problems on Network Rail and perhaps the current industrial action about the retention of Guards on Southern services has something to do with the reliability of the signalling. Unfortunately. it would appear that both ASLEF and the RMT Trade Unions are apparently more interested in extorting their employers for extra danger money, ( likewise the management snobs who have their own union ) than improving rail safety.
Unfortunately, ( at least since we joined the EU ) our UK Secretary of State for Transport has been an Engineering Dunce, none more so than the David Cameron incumbent, and hopefully Theresa May will break the mould by appointing someone at least willing to learn, and not just angling for a future Fat Cat job for a Corporate.
How many more innocent people need to die to support Tech Sector share prices on the DAX, FTSE and particularly the Wall Street Nasdaq index ?