As I am sure many of you know, there was a massive signal failure near Didcot today. There was no interesting explanation for this one. Is it just me, or does it feel better somehow ehen the reason for a delay is interesting? Maybe I've just worked here for too long and I'm bored of mundane delays.
Anywho, this one was certainly mundane. Something just wore out. As with all signal faults, when somehting wasn;t right, the signla automatically defaulted to caution and everything was brought to a standstill.
To their credit, Network Rail go their Mobile Operations Manager and engineers on the scene fairly sharpish and they were able to fix the problem fairly quickly. Not before, however, we had 3 trains over 2 hours late and a load more over 60 minutes late through knock-on delays. As I looked at the TV above my desk, it was not pleasant to see that much red on a 42" screen.
I'm not sure how much infomation was provided on the scene. We were relying on Network Rail for updates and we certainly didn't get them where I was. My apologies for those of you who were not kept in the know but, if it's any consolation, neither were we. We only knew the status when we were told, (by one of our own staff who was at Didcot station no less) that the signal was green again. The lack of info is the factor that narks me off most, as it is something that we get the blame for when we are not in control of it. Rant on this coming soo, I feel.
I was hoping that the explanation for the signal failure would be a little more interesting but it comes down to the age of the infrastucture yet again, something that Network Rail needs to address urgently and something that the DfT plans to make you guys pay to address. As much as everybody remembers the 'good old days' under British Rail. They are largely to blame for the current state of the track as they never did any maintenance (part of the reason why fares were cheap). Railtrack only did 'cure' maintenance, fixing stuff when it broke and now, Network Rail are trying to do 'prevention' maintenance but because no-one before them did, they are stuck most of the time doing 'cure'. It's an uphill struggle to fix problems as they occur as well as renew track, especially down in this part of the country where we have some of the oldest and most fragile track. More on this problem later.
Sleep well folks. Tomorrow should be a better day.