Spanish practices better than ours
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!