Span­ish prac­tices bet­ter than ours

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

THE in­cred­i­ble video footage of a train de­rail­ing at high speed and ca­reer­ing off the tracks in Spain last week was enough to chill the heart of even the hardi­est com­muter.

It’s some­thing rail pas­sen­gers mostly don’t even think about as we’re co­cooned in a seem­ingly in­de­struc­tible cage armed with a G&T and with­out hav­ing to wear so much as a seat belt.

But of course in­ci­dents do oc­cur. And like with aero­planes, when trains crash they cause one hell of a mess.

What fas­ci­nated me was the way the Span­ish dealt with the af­ter­math of what was a ter­ri­ble loss of life as well as the lo­gis­ti­cal prob­lem of a main in­ter-city rail­way line be­ing smashed out of ac­tion.

Within just a cou­ple of days, the colos­sal train wreck­age had been shunted to one side, the tracks re­paired or re­placed, and the rail­way was back run­ning – busi­ness as usual.

It was a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion in Ja­pan fol­low­ing an earth­quake a cou­ple of years ago.

There, roads were torn in two or in some cases de­stroyed as they were swal­lowed up by huge holes in the wrenched earth’s crust.

Within weeks, the lo­cals had re­built their mo­tor­ways and filled in the yawn­ing cracks, and traf­fic flowed as freely as be­fore.

How come we can’t be so bloody ef­fi­cient?

If, God for­bid, some­thing sim­i­lar was to oc­cur on a UK track – and who’s still think­ing HS2 is a great idea? – you could pretty much pre­dict rail­way grid­lock for months.

I refuse to be­lieve it’s be­cause Bri­tish work­ers aren’t as hard-work­ing or wily or prac­ti­cal as ei­ther the Japseor the Span­ish.

More likely we’d be held up by the nu­mer­ous dif­fer­ent “in­quiries” (and how much do we seem to like THAT f***ing word) into what had hap­pened.

Then we’d have the site vis­its. The PM would turn up look­ing all solemn in a hard hat. Wreaths would be placed all over the place and it’d be 72 hours at least of wall-to-wall Kay Bur­ley in her best ‘Disas­ter Coat’.

The lawyers would move in, talons sharp­ened, su­ing ev­ery­one in sight. Some­one you’d never heard of would qui­etly re­sign from a train com­pany board.

Then, at the very long end of it, record prof­its would still be an­nounced, ticket prices will still go up – and the trains still won’t run on time.

And to think, WE call it Span­ish prac­tices!

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