back to article Polish teen derails tram after hacking train network

A Polish teenager allegedly turned the tram system in the city of Lodz into his own personal train set, triggering chaos and derailing four vehicles in the process. Twelve people were injured in one of the incidents. The 14-year-old modified a TV remote control so that it could be used to change track points, The Telegraph …


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  1. alain williams Silver badge

    Give him a job!

    OK: he might be a bit young - but he sounds like someone with a brain that works.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    and we're all worried about the security of airlines and nuclear powerplants, changing the signals/points for a 60 -> 100mph train would appear a far better terror tactic.

    As it gives a quad whammy, train crash means

    a: injuries/deaths

    b: puts a line out of service until fixed and complete investigation done.

    c: probably hard to trace if it were possible and the fact that it was intentional may not come to light until it had happend several times.

    d: actual fear of using transport network, bombs are far fetched as they're reasonably hard to make and can only be used once, where as a device to change switches or signals, well that'll work as long as you have batteries. You never know when it may go horribly wrong.

    Course it may not be possible at all with the UKs aging network, you probably need to move a lever or something.

  3. Steve Evans


    You mean Łódź. (That's assuming you don't filter extended characters from comments!)

  4. John Macintyre
    Thumb Down

    @Give him a job!

    Brains that work? Ok he hacked the system, but he derailed 4 trains and hurt a load of people. throw him at an oncoming train more like.

  5. W.Hower

    A Job?

    A bloody Nobel I reckon.

  6. N1AK

    Who Built It?

    The 14 year old certainly deserves some punishment as the actions were dangerous, although likely not with malice. At 14 I was smart enough to know better, but probably not wise enough to show it, it sounds similiar here and ruining his life for it is just a waste.

    How ever I would want to see who ever is responsible for the flawed system being there in the first place charged with criminal negligence.

  7. Duncan Watts


    Nice if this worked on UK traffic lights... I'd go get one of those remote control watches I remember so fondly for causing havoc in schools.

    But doesn't anyone else think having a train line controlled by an infra red signal slightly worrying?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    @Anonymous Coward

    Reading your quad whammy list has made me realise that this strategy has been in place for years in the UK.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Why is the system flawed, you cant protect against every and any potential problems that a system may face. Generally you don't expect teenagers to hack into the rail system. I mean who does that? and why?

  10. Eddie Edwards

    Brain that works?

    Sounds to me like he just programmed a universal remote. Hardly rocket science. And when I was his age my brain did morality too.

  11. Nick
    Thumb Up


    Theoretically you could (at least for some of them). Some traffic lights have sensors in them that detect when emergency service vehicles or buses approach and 'green light' them. Never seen a public exploit for it though...

  12. The Mole


    Duncan this is a tram line not a train line, the difference is trams are slow moving and hence can stop very quickly (unlike your average train). Therefore I'd assume that the system is totally decentralized (and so cheaper), I'd guess the tram drivers have infrared controls within their trams which they use to switch the points. Through the use of basic procedures etc that the tram drivers follow I imagine the system works very well with minimal costs. The worst case is that two trams end up on the same track but this isn't a problem as long as the drivers are paying attention as they'll notice the other great big tram and stop in plenty of time. All this saves having complicated computer controlled networks, expensive cabling and computer errors.

    I imagine this is what the orginal designers thought and they had a point. Unfortunately for them they didn't consider the security implications. At the end of the day though I'm not sure what a sensible solution is, a set of armed guards at every point maybe? Anything less and there is still plenty of options of physical intervention to manually change the point.

  13. Chris Williams

    Re: Worrying

    "...doesn't anyone else think having a train line controlled by an infra red signal slightly worrying?"

    Yes, I'm happier with the tin cans and wet string in use on the Underground!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    lol - all the talk of the wrong kind of leaves makes sense now! They just didn't want us to know that someone had a pocket point remote control.

  15. Rob Sked


    Perhaps it just looked like a TV remote, and actually used a wireless signal instead? Send the right signal to change the track.

    I'll be struck dumb if they do use IR to change track points.

  16. Neil


    So do Polish tram signal systems work on IR? So anyone with a cheap programmable all-in-one remote could play with trains at will? Blimey.

  17. Adam

    @Duncan Watts

    Traffic Lights - it's been thought of already. A company we used for penetrations tests had a job to try and crack the IP interface of some traffic lights and see what they could do with them. I don't know what they found though.

  18. Michael Compton

    Re: lol

    Trams and trains are on tracks and would rarely go towards financial or military buildings/installations so the powers than be wouldn't really care about the terror threat.

    And theres u thinking it was all about your safety, afraid not its the money and big boys toys they're really worried about :)

  19. Dave

    It's so sad when a promising youngster goes off the rails

    te he

  20. Joe M

    The Addams family?

    Just a thought. Is he related to Gomez Addams by any chance?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Good grief

    Why isn't it reasonable to take this kid out the back and give him a darn good kicking? Using the trams as a personal train set? Git.

  22. Tom
    Paris Hilton


    Did he actually hack anything?

  23. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    Is this a contender for understatement of the year ?

    "The apparent ease with which Lodz's tram network was hacked, even by these low standards, is still a bit of an eye opener."

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No more esoteric arguments please

    @Tom: "Did he actually hack anything?" No, the tram derailed itself.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Too smart or too dumb?

    The world is full of kids who are too smart for their own good, and full of systems (and system designers) who are too dumb or too short-sighted for their own good.

    "Transport command and control systems are commonly designed by engineers with little exposure or knowledge about security using commodity electronics and a little native wit."

    Hopefully the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is built with better security procedures.

  26. andy gibson

    Talented = Autistic?

    A lot of people are suggesting that the kid should have known better and deserves a kicking or thrown in front of a train.

    Maybe they should stop to realise that a number of these "child geniuses" may be autistic and not know any better? I've known a few prodigies like this who are extremely intelligent and gifted yet don't always know the difference between right and wrong because of their condition.

    The authorities should be concentrating their efforts on terrorists realising this untapped potential of high intelligence and 'grooming' them to perform terrorist acts.

  27. Alze

    Give him a job at network rail

    He at least will have the trains running on time and better saftey record.

  28. Chris C

    re: Give him a job!

    "OK: he might be a bit young - but he sounds like someone with a brain that works."

    How do you figure? Because he was able to break into the depots, retrieve the necessary specifications, and was able to read them? I know that both the US and UK have education problems, but certainly the ability to read should not be interpreted as "a brain that works", even by today's standards. Nor should it be reason for praise, awards, or anything else.

    His actions were unethical, illegal, and dangerous. He should not be awarded, he should be punished.

  29. Steve Button Silver badge

    @Nick - never seen a public hack of traffic lights?

    I thought everyone knew about this one. You just flash your car headlights as you approach (about the same speed as you'd have if it was a police car flashing light) and the light changes to green much quicker.

    This works especially well with roadworks at night where there is no one coming the other way, so you don't have to sit at a pointless red light.


  30. Seanie Ryan
    Paris Hilton


    how come nobody has asked how the kid was caught?

    "oh, the train has derailed... hey that kid has a tv remote - Get him!!!"

    the paris icon because it has a question mark ;-)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Security-careless installation engineers

    A couple of years ago the powers that be refitted the whole of Clapham Junction train station with new train-information screens. For months after, they helpfully left little stickers bearing their individual IP addresses on each and every one. By itself, this hardly opens a hack, but it does dangle temptation in front of the eyes of potential teenage meddlers...

  32. W

    @ Steve Button

    "You just flash your car headlights..." "...and the light changes to green much quicker."

    Apparently not.

  33. W

    @ me

    Press F5 fast enough and the 'Stop' icon changes to 'Go'.

  34. Hugo

    Photos of his kit

    Miroslaw Micor, spokesman for the Łódź police, contradicts himself:

    "He ... built a device that looked like a TV remote control and used it to manoeuvre the trams and the tracks"


    "He had converted the television control into a device capable of controlling all the junctions on the line"

    So did he build a device or convert a telly remote? The Torygraph story said he trespassed at depots to get info and equipment to build the IR device, the latter. There are also photos on the Torygraph story of some of his kit: a lot of keys, and what looks like a front bicycle light and a calculator, possibly connected.

  35. Hugo

    A photo of one of the tram crashes:,35136,4823174.html?i=0

  36. Mostor Astrakan

    Classic hack!

    This almost takes me back to the days of hack-tic. I hope there will always be people around that go around looking at things and observing the interesting ways in which they break.

  37. Giles Jones Gold badge


    It's do to plonkers like this kid that we have DRM and encryption.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IR Points

    It doesn't seem that out of the question that a tram system may have points that are controlled from the cab of the tram, either by IR or radio. All you need to do is assume that the points aren't switched the way you want them and explicitly switch them to the correct direction whenever you approch. There would be no need for security in the points control system if trams don't go over the maximum safe speed (ie the max speed you can be switched from your current line) for the points when they cross.

    I suspect what happened here is that the scrote, sorry teen, switched the points when a tram was halfway over the points, cuasing derailment. It's not too long ago that tram systems had manual points which would have been controlled from the street (IIRC). Trams are not like rail systems in that they don't tend to have signalling systems.

    As for giving him a job, a kicking would seem more appropriate.

  39. Lars Petersson

    @ Chris C

    Actually, here in the UK, being able to read pretty much does show a brain that works.

    The levels of reading and writing really are that bad...

  40. TeeCee Gold badge
    Black Helicopters


    I suspect that the Tram system in Łódź (thanks for the "copy 'n paste" Steve) has been this secure for a looong time.

    The only thing that's changed is that, these days, screwing around with it results in arrest, a court case and, probably, a fine. Oh, and a lot of kudos from your mates.

    When it was put in, tampering with it would have resulted in some very stern looking people taking you away in the middle of the night, asking you a lot of serious questions in a way that *really* encourages a quick answer. Oh, and your mates will never admit to having ever heard of you ever again.

    Deterrence can be just as effective as security.......

  41. Sam

    after that photo..

    If someone I cared about was on one of those trams, injured or not, I'd be looking for the little turd right now........

  42. Anna Log

    Will they be in the stores soon?

    Universal remotes with a ' tram points ' button between ' TV ' and ' DVD ' ?

  43. Anton Channing

    Łódź for words

    This would be the same Łódź that just paid £10,000 for a website. A website that consists of just one page. A page that consists of just one image and no actual text. Image mapped to link to a bunch of external sites. All paid for by Polish tax payers money...

    It sounds to me like Governments are just a waste of taxpayers money. Whereever you are in the world...

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Public exploit


    "Theoretically you could (at least for some of them). Some traffic lights have sensors in them that detect when emergency service vehicles or buses approach and 'green light' them. Never seen a public exploit for it though..."

    Been done, at least once, in the US.


  45. Anonymous Coward

    I see the problem,35136,4823174.html?i=1

    he is a "hoodie" (which my mum thinks is a contraction of hoodlum, bless her)

    my hat, my coat, my gloves and my phoney dog poo!

  46. frank denton

    Re. Security-Careless Installation Engineers

    Did these IP addresses begin with 192. by any chance? If so those are internal network addresses.

  47. Neil

    Re: Traffic Lights

    The device you want is known as a MIRT, apparantly. Details on building one (against the law, though) are here:

  48. steogede

    How unusual...

    >> "He treated it like any other schoolboy might a giant train set, but it was lucky

    >> nobody was killed. Four trams were derailed, and others had to make emergency

    >> stops that left passengers hurt. He clearly did not think about the consequences

    >> of his actions,"

    ...a fourteen year-old boy who didn't think about the consequences of his actions. I thought fourteen year-old boys are well known for thinking through their actions.

    @ Giles Jones

    >> It's do to plonkers like this kid that we have DRM and encryption.

    It's plonkers who design systems like this without thought to encryption that are the problem. Designing such a system without thought to security akin to designing such a system without thought to safety.

    It is almost as bad as bus designers who design buses which are unlockable and bus drivers who leave the keys in the ignition whilst the driver goes to buy fags whilst at a timed stop. Goodness knows how many double deckers (sometimes full of passengers) have been stolen in this manner.

  49. Jon

    @ W @ steve

    Snopes is wrong on this... One of my college projects was using OpenCV to create a similar system, as well as personal experience with my Motorcycle and Car.

    A good majority of intersections work with Camera Vision Systems coupled with Inductive Sensors in the pavement. My small Tiburon (Coupe in the UK) was able to set off inductive sensors, but at night, I would experience problems with intersections that were purely based on camera vision triggered. I saw this 'tip' on snopes and gave it a try. I discovered that turning on my brights (not flashing) would trigger the camera recognition system.

    My motorcycle (Honda VTX 1300c) is not able to trigger most inductive systems and has a small profile that very few camera systems would pick up. I discovered tha.the "blaring the higbeam" (again, not flashing) was the only way to trigger some lights.

    The CV system works by detecting a change above a certain threshold in it's picture view. Turning on your brights createst a greater change in the picture.

    If you happen to live near Overland Park, KS, you can test what I have found at the intersection of College and Nieman in the south left turn lane on Niemen. The intersection would not pick up my bike/car without highbeams (I used to run the light on my motorcycle after sitting for 5-10 mins)

  50. Tim

    @ Nick

    AFAIK, few UK cities have those systems yet- but they rely on a transponder;

    Presumably, a grabber is all you need. I doubt they bother with encryption either.

  51. Jeremy

    Why not IR?

    I mean, look at the picture - it's Soviet-era technology. Who needs expensive command and control systems when you've got fear and secret police?

    @ andy gibson.

    I was wondering how far I'd get down this page without someone mentioning autism. The opinion that (very smart == savantism == autism) belongs in the 1970's, please leave it there :)

  52. Bryce Prewitt

    @ all the job naysayers

    Aw, what's that, just jealous that a 14 year old kid out there is smarter than you? Must be such a lonely world at the top, constantly being better than everyone else out there.

  53. Roger Hughes

    Forget the kid...

    ... I'd be a bit more worried about their training standards if one of their drivers was actually trying to steer their tram to the right...

  54. Tony

    Morality gene

    I think he's missing one.

    Look forward to hearing how his career progresses, selling nuclear plans to dodgy regimes, designing bio weapons. Great.

  55. Richard Porter

    re: Give him a job!

    Systems just don't get tested properly. When I did software system testing our objective was to break the system any way we could, not just make it do what it was supposed to do.

  56. Bounty
    Dead Vulture


    The kid is an idiot. He was caught, derailed a tram, got people injured. That's on par with hacking a street signal with a bb-gun.

    Also, unless the tram derailed because of a sharp turn the conductor wasn't expecting, it was on purpose. By either fighting with the conductor (left, right, no... left... no right) or waiting until the tram was on the switch. The fact that he's trying to turn the tram in a different direction from the conductor, while there is another tram nearby also seems to point to intentional harm. Depending on the evidence, I hope they slam this kid.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    According to Gazeta Wyborcza, where the photo someone else linked to comes from, the system is indeed infrared.

    The engineer interviewed here suggests that the system is so underprotected that even a passenger on the tram might accidentally disrupt the system with an unaltered remote control.,35136,4824049.html

  58. Herby

    @frank Not all 192... addresses are "local"

    Did these IP addresses begin with 192. by any chance? If so those are internal network addresses.

    If you look correctly at the proper RFC, only those beginning with are "non routeable addresses. There are others ( and See RFC1918.

    I suspect that they were "private addresses".

  59. Dan


    >>(very smart == savantism == autism)

    Since we've already shown that hacking the system was no great feat, that line doesn't apply. However, autistic people do things like watch the trams and try to figure out how they work, and playing with them "like their own toy set" is entirely consistent with the condition. If he was indifferent to other people (not concerned that they might be injured or angry that they were delayed), then he is pretty much a dead ringer for autism.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Traffic Signals


    Re: "Traffic Lights .... company we used for penetrations tests .... crack the IP interface"

    I employed a pen-test company, in nut shell they did not crack my IP interface to the traffic lights (I think it may be the company you are referring to). Hence I do not like the comment:-

    "Transport command and control systems are commonly designed by engineers with little exposure or knowledge about security using commodity electronics and a little native wit."

    When the Pen-tester compliment you on your set up and can't do anything even with all the passwords, you know you have done a good job with the design.

    Posting Anonymous.

  61. Jesse

    RE: Talented = Autistic?

    Too late, Andy. A couple years ago or so some Palestinian militants talked a kid into strapping on bombs to walk to a checkpoint to blow up. Thankfully the scared-shitless Police were able to get him to take it off and what not without any deaths.

    "Israeli media described Abdo as a "mentally challenged" boy while his brother, Hosni, said that Abdo "has the intelligence of a 12 year old."

    Unfortunately his Mother is just as ignorant.

    "If he was over 18, that would have been possible, and I might even encourage him to do it. But it's impossible for a child his age to do it."

    - I picked a heart because there was no icon for a broken one.

  62. Anonymous Coward

    One Remote To Rule Them All

    No mention of what happened to the kid's tram-busting Remote Control! What if it fell into the wrong hands, leaving villains in Lodz to strike again?

  63. HarshmanRob
    Thumb Up

    I agree, give the kid a job.

    Chris C

    Believe it or not, not everyone who can read has a brain that works. This kid spent a good amount of time researching and building his device to take over the tracks. That requires a little more brainpower than programming a remote. Most people cannot program a remote or a VCR for that matter. You are giving stupid people far too much credit.

    I say yeah..give the kid a job.

  64. Matt

    @all those 'kid today, in my day....' moaners

    To all those of you saying: "The kid should be tied to a train track and then shot" & "in my day..." , my missus comes from Łódź (pronounced "ooch", as in "hooch") and from what she tells me the police there are definitely of the "Don't f**k with me if you value your knee-caps" variety.

    When I was over there in November the tram drivers all drove like nutters and left the braking very late - more than once I saw a tram nearly rear-end another at a stop!

    Remember points (or 'turnouts' for our colonial cousins) have a max speed at which they can be negotiated. Attempt to take one too fast and you_will_leave the track!

    The coat with the mittens on a bit of string is mine...thank you

  65. Morely Dotes

    @ Giles Jones

    "It's do to plonkers like this kid that we have DRM and encryption."

    Nonsense. It's due to the greed and complete lack of ethics of the Corporate world, combined with the reactionary resistance to new ways of doing business, that we have DRM and encryption.

  66. Henry Wertz

    Yes, the light flashing for some stoplights is real.

    So, yes, some cities do use a transponder system. But, others do in fact just use some kind of flashing light detector. A friend of mine about 10 years ago had a truck with one badly misaligned headlight (my state has no safety inspections so there's some real shitboxes on the road). He found he could flash it and it'd turn the lights for him every time -- until a policemen finally caught him at it, wrote him some ticket for that and a ticket for the misaligned headlight, plus probably some other ones.

    I also can second reading about someone (briefly) commercially selling the strobe-boxes, until they were quite quickly pulled off the market.

  67. Keith T
    Thumb Down

    Would you want him as your brain surgeon ??

    Intelligence isn't the only quality needed to help society. Sanity, sympathy, and a sense of responsibility are also required.

    The last thing any one needs is for this guy to get a job where he get access to privileged information. At least not until he has demonstrated he can and has grown up. (Some people never grow up properly, psychopaths for example, and we have to minimize the control they have over other people.)

    You need a the qualities of a responsible person in addition to intelligence, before you can handle a job that involves responsibility.

  68. Martin Usher

    Trams do it differently

    Tram points are controlled by the driver, not some signalman in a remote location, and in the old days they sometimes had to lean out the cab and physically change the setting using a pull cord or something like that. Using an IR remote is a handy upgrade, especially if you live somewhere cold and wet. The problem here is that the kid changed the track setting after the driver had set it, either sending the tram the wrong way or (if its while the vehicle is going over the switch) derailing it.

    Its a lot more difficult to do this on a railroad. We have more opportunities to do this in the US because we put sidings off the main track in all sort of remote locations but changing would be vandalism -- you've got to cut locks and things. It might be easier to just unbolt a section of track.

    Incidentally, we do use a form of remote control to change traffic signals in the US. Its supposed to be used on emergency vehicles only but due to an oversight it wasn't illegal to have one until recently.

  69. Ivan B Rootin

    Nice Job!

    I hacked a pierogi to start my car!

  70. Anonymous Coward

    "very naughty boys" and trams

    -shows how we have dropped the baton in the UK; the cohort before me back in the 50s at Manchester University used thermite to weld trams to the track for a Rag Week stunt.

  71. Name

    Make him earn his job

    Chain him to the tracks at one end of the line, with a bag of miscellaneous electronic bits. Then set a tram going at the other end.

    If he manages to hack the network by the time the tram gets to him - give him a job.

    If he doesn't, shovel him up :)

  72. Chris Girocco

    Isn't that how Lex Luthor Started

    No, really...that story shows all the signs of a God Complex and the initial signs of a Machiavellian bent.

  73. kain preacher


    "Its a lot more difficult to do this on a railroad. We have more opportunities to do this in the US because we put sidings off the main track in all sort of remote locations but changing would be vandalism -- you've got to cut locks and things. It might be easier to just unbolt a section of track."

    That would be a federal crime and they would charge you with terrorism.

  74. Jergosh

    To clarify

    From what I've read in the Polish press (I'm from Łódź - actually couldn't get to the uni because of the derailment, it's pronounced /wooch/, btw), the problem is that he switched the points when the tram was halfway through it, thus derailing it. There should be some sort of protection against it, but it's installed only in few places (and since the transport company is renting the tracks from the city - which in turn gives them money for renovation - both refuse to take responsibility for that).


    > I mean, look at the picture - it's Soviet-era technology. Who needs expensive

    > command and control systems when you've got fear and secret police?

    Beg pardon?

  75. Mitch

    100mph tram!!!

    @ Anonymous Coward:

    You GOT TO BE KIDDING! A city tram running at 100mph...

    Do you have any idea what a tram is?

  76. Philip Nicholls Silver badge

    14..... and?

    Don't at least some of us remember 14 accurately? Sure, at 14 we know right from wrong but at 14 who gives a monkey's? From 11 to 14 to 16 to 18 - most of us are a series of different and incomparable personalities.

    Oh sorry ... geeksville is here. We are all 14.

  77. Matt
    Paris Hilton


    My bad - though in fairness I've found the 'w'/Łó is hard to hear to someone used to Germanic languages (English, French, German), as opposed Slavic ones.

    Loved the city, by the way (not necessarily the architecture! ;-) ). Was impressed that the road and tram network is being modernised at the time, meaning that although you guys are suffering traffic chaos at the moment, at least you'll get the pain over in one big hit. No-way could any city authority in the UK ever be that coordinated!


    I grew up near Bern in Switzerland. On the 'inter-urban' routes (I.e. where the tram runs on dedicated tracks, not on a tracks in the road surface), they regularly hit 80km/h (50mph)- just don't hit the emergency stop (as some 14 yr olds are apt to do...) or the last thing to go through your head will be your arse!

    Paris Hilton icon 'cos the girls in Łódź are far cuter....

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a load of crap

    "Transport command and control systems are commonly designed by engineers with little exposure or knowledge about security using commodity electronics and a little native wit."

    As an Engineer who designs Railway Control Systems. I can assure you that every design engineer I have met throughout the UK and Australia has security and safety concerns at the forefront of every design.

    If this comment were re-worded to be truthful it would read:

    "Transport command and control systems are commonly designed by Engineers and passed through four stages of safety and security analysis processes using proprietary encrypted protocols running on specialised electronics and a lot of experiencial knowledge."

  79. Anonymous Coward

    Oh jesus dont let him see the dreamliner

    It will only be a matter of time... Perhaps he just wont like the movie they are showing...

  80. Anonymous Coward

    Stop worrying about the dreamliner

    It is fortunate that there is no possible way for a passenger to compromise the flight systems from their seat on a 787 because the flight control runs on a physically isolated network to the network provided to passengers. Right guys? Guys?

  81. kokj


    Society needs to stop blaming the kid and find the root cause of the problem. It is clear the engineers did not have a necessary skill / time needed to design a safe and secure system. This was the problem and the solution should be fixing it so that it doesn't happen again (training or providing the time to pick up these skills).

  82. Joseph G Brandtner
    Thumb Up

    Mr. Motorman

    I'm a streetcar i. e., tram, motorman for the Port Authority Transit System here in Pittsburgh, PA, US. I say the Port Authority should bring this kid to Pittsburgh and hire him. We have a "stae of the art" signaling and routng system. Signals and routing can be controlled by the Operations Command Center remotely. In automatic, a route is selected onboard by the motorman by entering a three digit code into the "train-to-wayside" device console. This emits a radio signal which is picked up by receivers installed between the rails on the track.

    One day a two car train was approaching a major junction. However its I.D. was lost from the system. As the train passed through the turnout at about 20 mph the following train set up its routing though that same interlock about a mile back. The switch threw under the train sendin the first car the right way and the second the wrong way thus derailing the train. This, they told us in training, "can't happen". I say, bring this kid to Pittsburgh and hire him. Maybe he can figure it out.

  83. tim chubb

    i wonder....

    how long till a how to is on lifehacker?

  84. Richard

    Four vehicles derailed

    "A Polish teenager allegedly turned the tram system in the city of Lodz into his own personal train set, triggering chaos and derailing four vehicles in the process. Twelve people were injured in one of the incidents."

    I can't quite work out if these were four vehicles derailed as a result of one signal change or if they were separate acts.

    If the former, I can see how it was a prank gone wrong and it'd perhaps be a little shortsighted to be too harsh on him.

    If the latter, lock away the key!

  85. Paul Murray

    Whaddayamean, lockimup?

    A 14-year-old is a child. End of story.

    However - no sense blaming the designers of the system for "they should have known" not to build public transport a child can hack. 20 years ago, who was to know that kids would be able to hack (what was then) high-tech semiconductor control systems?

  86. Sam


    Has anyone heard any comments from the twelve injured victims yet?

    I wonder if they will be saying "he's only a kid", etc...

  87. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Stop worrying about the dreamliner

    Maybe not Anonymous Coward. See here:

    Penguin icon coz I like it.

  88. Anonymous Coward

    The kid is a saviour of many

    Changing points with IR is just daft at least the kid brought it to light it'll probably be made more secure now. Imagine if Al-Qaeda got hold of a remote at rush hour! Thousands of people would have been late for work, the economy would have been ruined!

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