My boss saw this reported on BBC News and expressed his disappointment that, given our team's history of being somewhat rebellious and contrarian, nobody had supplied cake that day in response.
Needless to say, the issue was corrected by lunchtime!
19 publicly visible posts • joined 11 May 2009
The railway companies realised the risk of weighing down the 'Dead Man's Pedal/Handle' years ago and modern trains instead have a pedal that has to be released and depressed again in response to a vigilance alarm (you can often hear the 'Beep beep beep thunk' if you're sitting behind the driver's cab).
I have heard mention of an incident in the past where apparently an Underground train ran off without the driver. Apparently he left his bag weighing down the handle and went back to fix an issue with a door that wasn't shutting properly. As soon as he fixed it and the door closed properly, the train gained traction interlock and set off without him.
I'm in a similar situation, but I have enough usable sight to carry out most day-to-day tasks. My vision is just not quite up to the standard required for a UK Driving License.
(In some states of the US, someone with far worse vision than me would be allowed to drive with a bioptic telescope, a fact I find somewhat scary!)
Proper self-driving would be a game changer for me, and others in a similar situation, even if adaptations for people with no or very limited functional vision took a little bit longer.
However, if the demand is there, I'd hope the manufacturers (or third party suppliers) will rise to meet it, and in my experience, people with visual impairments are often incredibly adaptable and ingenious, finding ways to do tasks that a fully-sighted person would consider to be impossible without functional vision.
Take the petrol pump issue for example, there are phone apps that would allow you to point the camera at the pump handle and it'll tell you what colour it is. Slower, perhaps, but it would do the job!
I've been on trains which have initiated emergency stops (in one case, after hitting a trespasser at about 70mph!). Although it's certainly sharp, the deceleration is unlikely to throw passengers around in a manner which which could cause serious injury or death, except in a really unlucky scenario (e.g. an elderly person walking back from the toilet and falling).
It's nothing like an emergency stop in a bus or car.
Trams, on the other hand, can often stop much more abruptly!
Great Heck crash (near Selby).
10 dead, 82 seriously injured and the car driver only got 5 years. Many in the rail industry considered that far too lenient, especially as he had decided to drive in a sleep deprived state.
Anything involving injury or death caused by cars does seem to get a far more lenient sentence than many would consider acceptable!
As one of the customers who has been trying (and failing) to put in an order in since last week, I've also noticed that over the weekend, prices of some of the items in my basket have increased!
I'd hope that when they finally resolve the issue, they drop the prices back down to last week's for a couple of days as a bit of goodwill for those who couldn't actually place an order at the lower price.
I'd go elsewhere for what I need, but I have an IKEA gift card to use (compensation from a previous order of furniture that was badly described and not fit for its intended purpose)!
"Pretty soon we'll see albinos demand an emoji"
As a Reg reader with albinism, I'd quite like that!
Will have to make to with 'White Hair + Light Skin Tone' for the moment I guess!
Of course, composing messages with emojis is still a pain for those of us with low vision (result of the albinism), as Swifkey's emoji panel doesn't respond to triple-tap zoom on my Samsung Galaxy and I have to get a physical magnifier out to see what each of the little pictures actually is!
I for one welcome our new robotic automobile overlords!
As someone who is barred from driving due to disability, it might mean I no longer have to rely on unreliable public transport or extortionate taxis to get to places outside of major towns and cities.
It would also be nice to be able to travel in the late evening or on Sundays, when many public transport operators can't be bothered to provide any kind of service.
I just hope the government eventually allows completely unattended operation, rather than the cop-out of insisting that driverless cars must still have a 'driver' with appropriate licence who can take control if required.
I'm still not sure how well they'll handle 'off road' situations, such as parking in a muddy field at a car boot sale, marshalled by a bloke in a hi vis jacket with no traffic direction ability.
Bus travel seems an obvious application for NFC Payment (as opposed to Oyster and similar).
I made the mistake of travelling by bus in Cardiff yesterday. None of my smartcards/passes/etc for London were valid, so I had no choice but to pay cash. Exact fare only, and a nice round number of £1.70/trip.
End result is that the bus gets delayed while I ferret around in my wallet to find the change.
Would've been so much easier if I could've tapped my S3 on a reader and had it deduct the fare from Paypal/Google Wallet/Bank account whatever!
Not sure you can really call HS2 a 'Rail Operator' yet, as it hasn't even got permission to build the track to operate on!
South West Trains have just announced a roll-out of Wifi to their Class 444 'long-distance' fleet, but not the Class 450 outer-suburban stock.
This would make sense, except they tend to chop and change between the two types on some lines. Class 450s are used as far as Portsmouth in the peaks (surely when there'd be most demand for wi-fi) , and they even occasionally make it all the way to Weymouth!
What would be useful is having reliable free wifi in the London Terminals. Trying to get a 3G signal on GiffGaff (O2) in the evening peak is nigh on impossible, because the networks are simply swamped by all the commuters doing the same.
Even worse if you are trying to look up train information during disruption (when you can get better info form Twitter or the National Rail app than the staff or screens at the station!)
Have they considered the fact that, while each bore of the tunnel is normally used in one direction, they are both bi-directionally signalled and there are two crossovers within the tunnel that allow trains to switch between them.
This feature was used extensively when repairing the fire damage down there, but I believe it is also occasionally used when engineering work needs to be carried out on one section of the tunnel.
This could result in passengers hopping from French networks, to English networks to French networks again (and vv) without warning!
As someone who is unable to drive for medical reasons, a practical robo-car can't come soon enough!
It means I'd no longer be restricted to living within walking distance of a railway station or bus route, and popping out to see a friend 10 miles away would no longer take an hour each way!
To save all this hassle every time a franchise changes, maybe it would be best to treat the rail companies like any other franchised operation (e.g. McDonalds).
Keep a single, standard identity across the entire rail network, with a smalll 'operated by' logo somewhere on the train to show which bunch of bus bandits are currently trying to make a profit from a public service.
They've already started doing this in Scotland.
Regarding Daniel B's comment:
Just to make it clear, anybody thinking of touching the live rail in southern england, Liverpool or on the Undeground:
The third rail is live at full power, and will kill you, at all times, regardless of whether or not there is a train anywhere near!!
(Not that I mind some Darwinian action, but it tends to delay my train home, and I feel sorry for the poor sods that have to clean it up).
I don't know what the situation is in this case, but many trams in this country and others don't have proper signalling but instead are driven on sight. Trams (like cars, but unlike trains) generally have good enough brakes, to stop in the distance the driver can see. The driver has to keep paying attention in case some muppet walks or drives out in front of them
Signals are often used in much the same way as traffic lights, which prevent conflicting moves across a junction.
P.S. (I think the Reg needs to invest in one of these http://www.youngworld.co.uk/acatalog/P4011.jpg before friday)