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Accident on the Puffing Billy Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Masterbrew, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    I am perfectly well aware about Austalia's attitude to train braking. I used the UK example as an illustration of how a combination of parsimony and resistance to regulation led eventually to quite a few people dying.
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J New Member

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    Hi Paul (and others,)

    There will be a full and thorough Police and Worksafe enquiry, my initial post was to try and add some information as a local familiar with the location of the accident, and also from the observations of paying passengers (not staff or volunteers,) who were on the train in question, which has not been in some of the news reports.

    Australia generally has a strong "safety first" attitude, you cannot even ride a push bike here legally without a helmet, but I personally very much hope in this instance that the conclusion from the investigation is that the risk of injury is so minimal, the sheer pleasure millions of children (and some adults...) have had from being able to ride the train and dangle their legs out the side is allowed to recommence.

    The loading gauge allows it quite safely, I can well understand it might cause a few issues if replicated on an FR flying bench.

    Cheers
    Ian J
     
  3. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Active Member

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    Some monkey bars on the L&B open centre 3rd no 7 would be great fun for the kids, unfortunately it would be playing right into the hands of the anti-Disneyfication objectors.
    :)
     
  4. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Part of the furniture Friend

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    Seconded: I worked in Australia for a couple of short periods in the last decade and the safety standards were far superior to the UK, although you'd do well to get rid of that sorry excuse for a mains plug you have ;)
     
  5. torgormaig

    torgormaig Active Member Friend

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    Paul - there is no issue here. If kids dangling their legs out of a Puffing Billy train was unsafe it would have been stopped decades ago. It is a practice that is infinately safer than crossing the road. It may seem strange to those used to the tight clearances of UK railways but it is part of the charm and fun of what is one of the very best steam railways in the world. Long may it continue.

    Peter
     
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  6. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Look, I had not intended to make any further postings but as you mention me specifically I had better say I have had much experience of a narrow gauge line with similar clearances to the P.B.R. There is no way that railway would tolerate for a nanosecond, passengers travelling partially outside the structure of the vehicles in this way. As one correspondent has said, we need to await the result of the investigations.

    PH
     
  7. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Active Member

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    And yet just about every miniature railway in the UK operates with peoples knees and legs sticking out/over the sides and heads sticking out of the top. Is this a terrible thing?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    In 1996 I went on the Sroda line in Poland, it was great fun sitting on the carriage steps and running my feet through the grass. I didnt take my shoes off though & kept my eyes well peeled
     
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  9. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Hardly the same thing, as you know perfectly well. Actually I was present once when a vehicle on a 10 1/4" line derailed and projected the elderly and rather bulky passenger into the adjacent rose bed. I don't remember the passenger concerned sitting on the side of the carriage with dangling feet.

    PH
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Were the roses harmed?

    Tom
     
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  11. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    Probably they were but it was a long time ago and, apart from relief that the person concerned had avoided broken bones, I was rather pleased it had not been me at the regulator as I had been shortly before! A good lesson that safety on any kind of railway can't be taken for granted.

    Paul H
     
  12. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Member

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    So a completely irrelevant point to the discussion about passengers having their feet over the side being dangerous.

    In other news, Paul announces he is in favour of banning rabbits because he once saw someone eaten by a tiger.
     
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  13. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    I travelled the Talyllyn from Pendre to Abergynolwyn sat on the step of the Corris saloon back in the early 70's. A most enjoyable trip it was too. Well, the company's by-laws only ever forbade travelling on roofs! :)

    So far as Puffing Billy's long standing policy of allowing dangling legs, they're an experienced and responsible railway. I find it frankly peculiar anyone might judge what's been a perfectly safe and very popular practice for decades on grounds along the lines of 'it wouldn't be a good idea through Garnedd Tunnel' .... and add that the Puffing Billy is very clearly not the party at fault in this instance.

    I'd have to suggest the proximity of a road along route of the Fairbourne line for part of it's distance renders passengers carried, certainly in it's open carriages, at least as vulnerable as those enjoying the Puffing Billy. Does that make the Fairbourne unsafe? On the RH&D, not even a public road was required to derail 'Green Godess' a couple of years ago. Do we therefore conclude 15in gauge lines are unsafe at any sort of speed?

    I wonder .... if a rogue vehicle were to have an unfortunate meeting with the FR's 'Flying Bench' or a 'Toastrack' on one of the ungated crossings across steep roads above Moelwyn Tunnel, would there be calls on here to end their use? To put things into perspective at this point, please keep in mind that a runaway laden heavy lorry at this point would likely be every bit as devastating to passengers in any stock.

    What if some mischance befell riders of demonstration gravity trains (At least two Welsh lines recreate the practice, albeit not with fare paying passengers)? Would that be it for good and all?

    At what point does ensuring sensible safety precautions become a stifling attempt to wrap everything in cotton wool?

    I don't seek to belittle safety aspects, but do we really want want to hermetically seal in heritage railway passengers in the manner of the modern big railway? Or respond to such incidents as do occur in the knee-jerk manner associated with the 'popular press'?

    Please keep in mind that there are always going to be circumstances of all sorts when ordinarily completely safe practices are rendered less so by extraordinary events, by no means all of which affect only 'departures from the norm'. No amount of good intent will ever legislate that away, on heritage or mainline .... let alone our roads.
     
  14. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Active Member

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    Hear hear!
     

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