Monday, 25 February 2008

Person hit by a train

Most of us that use the Great Western Railway will be familiar with the level of havoc caused when there is a fatality on the line - generally in the Southall area.

There seem to be a variety of causes - all of them equally tragic - mis-adventure, suicide - and today's version - possible murder.

The police had to shut the line for 5 and a half hours which had the effect of knackering all the services between London and anywhere else.

You can imagine my delight to see that the train I was due to catch (that I had run for) was cancelled and I had to wait until a lot later - Got home about 8.30ish. Not so bad all things considered.

What I don't understand is why people choose this bit of track - my contact at FGW (Matthew Golton, Special Projects Director) tells me that this piece of track has the highest suicide rate of anywhere on the railway network.

I'm guessing there must be 20 trains an hour out of Paddington - maybe more but let us stay with this assumption. Let us also say that each train can carry on average (gross miscalculation coming up), 500 passengers. The line was shut for 5.5 hours.
Therefore, as a minimum, 55,000 people are affected and that's just the ones wanting to leave Paddington.
Then there's those on the way in and all of the others at stations like Reading who are also affected. Making a wild guess - another 20,000 people in all.
I am making huge leaps and assumptions but let us further agree that we all earn the minimum wage of £5.52 an hour - ok, let's be sensible - we work in Reading and London mainly - more likely to average £22 an hour (£4o k salary - tell me if I'm wrong...) We've all been delayed for a minimum of 1 hour - some much more. Time to recap...

75,000 people in total affected
1 hour delay
£22 per hour

Cost = £1,650,000

That seems remarkably cheap to me. We haven't accounted for the cost of police time, damage etc etc. Let alone the fact that once again I haven't been able to see my baby girl in the evening as she is asleep.

I'd love to hear some official stats on this and see how far off I am..

Yes, I am a sicko but your mind wanders when you're stuck on a platform waiting.



Anonymous said...

but when there are no trains many of us would say, oh well I might as well have a beer, but not Trainfellow............for those who don't know he is in the process of restoring the ruin that is his body into a glorious new temple, he declined a can of FGW's finest Arkells as he was running that evening, I guess like so many aspiring athletes he has 2012 on his mind, Visaman

Billyo said...

Agreed, go for a beer, don't crunch the numbers.

It's even more unpleasant being on the train in question. I had an unfortunate experience at Pilning last April, as did the poor driver of the train.

The Insider has posted on this subject in the past too, interesting to hear a FGW employee's view on it, and what has to happen before the line can re-open.

Andrew said...

I got completely bashed by people after expressing a simular view on a local paper after TWO fatalities along the same line within a space of a couple of hours of each other here in the South of england.

Its selfish, and I appreciate that they can't help it sometimes, but the cost, and the problems it creates for everyone else really isn't fair on anyone!