Digital Railways? Driverless trains? Forget those – welcome to the bottom end of the rail business, toilets. If I were you I wouldn’t read this over your cornflakes

Pan Up

Some readers might find it appropriate that toilets have often loomed large in my railway career, but they are not something you normally talk about. People edge away from you at parties, the pretty girls go for the ex-Deltic engineers, you know the sort.

As an Electrical Engineering graduate one of my early jobs found me responsible for the Mk 1 coaching stock at Cardiff Canton. The ‘stop list’ had got to the point where ‘SBS’ commonly cropped up in the defect book. Alarmingly, I found that meant ‘Stolen By Shunters’, meaning that in the sheer desperation to form up the Crewe and Portsmouth trains the shunters were ripping red cards off and using the vehicles anyway.

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