Google analytics

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Rules are Rules

The Good News:
It was a normal day in
Sharon Springs , Kansas, when a Union Pacific crew boarded a loaded coal train for the long trek to Salina .

The Bad News:

Just a few miles into the trip a wheel bearing became overheated and melted, letting a metal support drop down and grind on the rail, creating white hot molten metal droppings spewing down to the rail.

The Good News:
A very alert crew noticed smoke about halfway back in the train and immediately stopped the train in compliance with the Rules.

The Bad News:

The train stopped with the hot wheel over a wooden bridge with creosote ties and trusses.
The crew tried to explain to higher-ups, but were instructed not to move the train!
They were instructed that the Rules prohibit moving the train when a part is defective!


Don't ever let common sense get in the way of a
good disaster!!!


  1. Sad to see how we are all conditioned to seek permission before doing anything and even more sad to see adherence to the rules overriding the logic of doing the right thing.

    At least it proves that this is a worldwide malaise, not that that is much of a comfort.

  2. Different story here

    What is really interesting is that they aim to have bridge rebuilt in 4 days!

    We'd be lucky in the UK if it got built in 4 years!

  3. Same the whole world over.

    "We'd be lucky in the UK if it got built in 4 years!"

    And four times over budget I expect.

  4. Smoking Hot’s link is interesting, reading down, there is the remark that the train consisted of 100 cars. I have experienced such trains in Texas, once arriving too late at a level crossing and counting over 100 cars trundling past. I had plenty of time to sit and count rail-cars. This was about 20 years ago, and at that time I started wondering what the limit to such trains would be, and when it might be reached. The incident in the current post occurred in 2002, so it seems that it might already have been reached. Perhaps we’ve reached a Peak Train Length.
    Anyway, since that day I have watched bemused as politicians of all countries have rushed in to spend their people’s hard earned money on faster and ever faster trains. The Peak Train Speed is near to being approached I guess, it will be the stability speed for a fast train.
    So two Peak limits for trains have been, or are being reached. Yet politicians are still gadarening along the, by now, well travelled line.
    Which explains this little rant, as a PS to my earlier rant a few days ago, on the need for shorter, fatter, higher and therebye more efficent trains, (the cube law kicking in as Brunel and Boeing found) and therebye more cost effective.
    I don’t suppose Cameron reads this blog, more fool him.
    And more expensive for the rest of us.
    Peter Melia

  5. The fictional version was funnier than the factual.


Say what you like. I try to reply. Comments are not moderated. The author of this blog is not liable for any defamatory or illegal comments.