27 February 2007

Rail crash

The only point I want to make of this is how wonderful technology is that this train has survived crashing at 145 km/h with only one fatality. None of the windows broke, none – the Italian made tilting trains (Pendolinos) that Virgin uses are clearly a winner! The carriages are by and large intact, which is a far cry from previous rail disasters. The nay sayers who regard rail privatisation as the source of all ills may look at Virgin Trains having leased trains that have three times the crash resistance of the required safety standard. It helps that the competitive pressure through the franchising system incentives private rail operators to operate trains and services that maximise revenue (and Virgin Trains has done quite well in winning passengers from other modes).
Yes there are issues around the track at this particular location on this occasion, and Network Rail may well be culpable. However, rail accidents are going to occur from time to time. What this train has proven is that it is possible to protect people from death and serious injury at high speeds with good design. Imagine taking any road vehicle and sending it off the road at 145 km/h.
It gives me added comfort as I catch these trains nearly every week!

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