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Sunday, 19 October 2003

UK rail disease hits the tubes [lurks]

There's been a derailment on the tube for the second time this weekend. This time it is my local tube line. Two in a weekend, both from cracked/damaged rails. These things are supposed to be analysed by ultrasonics but clearly the same disease of contractor incompetance and complacancy which has plagued the national railways is now infecting the tube.
Something needs to be done. While the tube will cry for billions more of taxpayers money, no one will actually tackle the problem that railway maintenance staff are one of the worst and most skiving forms of partially-skilled labour seen in this country and no one appears to want to sort out the management of these operators. Why is that? Have we turned into a France-like haven of workers-rights, powerful unions and lunacy so that everyone is more concerned with the working week hours and complying to EU regulations for tea-breaks than they are concerned about running a decent public service which doesn't crash and kill people on a regular basis?
I don't know the answer but I'm becoming increasingly angry with the state of our railways and the tube. I could tell you untold horror stories about my comuting rail line, operated by WAGN. About how even the London terminus on the line doesn't have display boards telling you of departures (at Morgate) and how none of the signs work on any station on the line. More worryingly, there's serious jars at parts on the line - exactly the same sorts of jars which the drivers and staff ignored on the WAGN routes which lead to the Hatfield disaster.
The problem surely has to be accountability. We need a new contract with those working on the railways. They need to be made to understand that they are paid to uphold a certain standard. There should be accountable management where the buck stops. Management in charge of the actual skiving scumbags you see permanently on tea-break while you snail past on your delayed 07:45 train to work.
These people are paid well given that it's essentially unskilled work which requires just a few weeks training. Yet they don't do their job, people die so there must be accountability. Managers need to be prosecuted for criminal negligence. The message must be sent out, either do your job properly or go sell the big issue. Britain has had enough of third-rate dangerous railways causing us to be the laughing stock of Europe because you work-shy scumbags wont do the job you are paid to do.

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