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Wednesday 3 April 2019

Brexiteer Rail Sabotage - Why It Failed

One conclusion that is inescapable from yesterday’s news that pro-Brexit protesters had tried, and failed, to disrupt rail travel at two locations is that to back Britain leaving the EU need not be an intellectually challenging task. As with so much else about those who still harbour delusions of past greatness, the ideas used by the saboteurs were decades out of date. And they could have got themselves killed. Well, maybe next time.
The Cambridgeshire saboteur could have had this up his arse ...

What happened? Well, the Mirror had a brave stab at an explanation. “Police investigating pro-Brexit 'sabotage' attempts to disrupt rail network … Two home-made short-circuit devices were found clipped to railway tracks”. And where? “Home-made short-circuit devices were found clipped to railway tracks in Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire last week”. With a photo of Peterborough station. Which is not where it happened, but close.

Still, it’s an improvement on their first attempt, which featured a photo of a Virgin Trains Pendolino train, which doesn’t operate in, er, Cambridgeshire or Nottinghamshire. But do go on. “It came with a note saying ‘Leave means leave’ and threatening to ‘bring this country to its knees’ if Britain doesn't exit the EU.” But it didn’t work.

The devices were designed to make it appear to signal workers that a train was stationary on the track when there wasn't one, disrupting the network and causing delays … But safeguards introduced to comply with EU regulations mean the devices failed”. Now, I would love that last assertion to be true - Brexiteers outdone by the ghastly Eurocrats.
... while his Nottinghamshire counterpart would have to make to with this

But it’s not quite that simple. Two things here. One, what the saboteurs had tried to do was to improvise a set of track circuit clips. What they? Well, on lines which use track circuiting - not universally true in the UK - a low-voltage current passes along the rails, the circuit being “completed” as a train passes over the tracks. So for the signallers, the section through which the train is running shows up as occupied.

However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, the improvised devices don’t look like proper track circuit clips (which train guards use in cases of emergency). And no, I’m not going to include an image of proper track circuit clips. The Wall Of Gammon™ can figure that one out themselves.

Also, Two, many lines in the UK no longer use track circuiting - they rely, instead, on axle counters which, to paraphrase the late Brian Hanrahan, count the axles all out, and then count them all back. A four-coach train counts sixteen axles as it enters a signalling section - ten if it uses articulation, rail purists - and then counts the same number as it exits.

Yes, that would be difficult for your average amateur protester to simulate. And there is one more problem for Brexiteer disruption mongers. At one of the locations cited - Yaxley in Cambridgeshire - trains pass at speeds of over 100mph. The tracks use continuously welded rail. So before the Wall Of Gammon™ had done their deed, they could be splattered by several hundreds of tonnes of stealth heavy metal.

Thus another entry for the next series of Darwin Awards. You have been warned.
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Julian said...

This has moved from protest through disruption (the man on the roof at Kings X) to terrorism, however inept. If this had been successful, who knows what might have happened to trains on the network? Incredibly irresponsible action.

Anonymous said...

One more inevitable step down the road to right wing hell.

As is the video of 3 Para using an image of Corbyn for target practice.

At this rate it's only a matter of time before......well, make your own assessment.

So much for a "strong and stable" fuhrer.

Anonymous said...

Earlier in the day when the BBC broke the story, it showed a view from a road bridge onto the site of the former Yaxley and Farcet station.

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

Yaxley, eh?

Ceiliog said...

@Anon 13:05
The Yaxley and Farcet Station was closed in 1959 following the Government's Beeching Act.
If only present Government did something to close down the Yaxley and FarRight Damnation.

Anonymous said...

If this neofascist madness goes on, how long before there is a British copy-cat repeat of the 1980 Bologna Centrale massacre by Italian fascists?

There are enough home grown far right nutcase politicians, thugs, "intelligence" agencies*, media rent boys and girls, and now apparently military** too for it to become just a matter of time.

The tragedy is that it was and is all too predictable. Too many politicians in all parties either wilfully ignored the obvious or went down the same far right road for decades. The invoice of history is now almost due for payment.

It's not as though there have been no warnings. The philosopher George Santayana made the most accurate observation of all.

*See Peter Wright's Spycatcher.

**See newspaper reports of army general who threatened mutiny when Corbyn was elected leader.

Tim Fenton said...


Any station closure before 1963 cannot, by definition, have been a Beeching closure.

Anonymous said...

Correct - a considerable number of smaller GNR stations on the ECML were closed in 1959: pretty sure the next one south (Holme) was a contemporary casualty.

Arthur 'Two Sheds' Jackson said...

Does anyone know how many carriages were on the last train to stop at Yaxley and Farcet Station, the type and wattage of lightbulbs, and the name of the ticket inspectors dog?

Anonymous said...

Back when the extreme right was a force to be reckoned with, they boasted about their trains running on time.

Now they attract the type of thug who doesn't like trains.

Anonymous said...

"As with so much else about those who still harbour delusions of past greatness, the ideas used by the saboteurs were decades out of date. And they could have got themselves killed. Well, maybe next time.."

The sabateurs are the government who are currently a defunct tyranny and wilfully delaying the vote of the majority of the UK. It is the freemasonic/satanists that have severe delusions of grandeur.All excrement needs to be properly disposed off, and flushed down the toilet. Keep on wishing we all drop dead and disappear, or we get hit by trains. leave the EU or not, the swamp WILL be drained.
they deny jesus christ and betraying the wish of the people who knew what they were voting for. the swamp WILL be drained.