Monday, 14 February 2011

Mail's transport correspondent gets spanked botty

Does SouthEastern have a guardian angel?

On Saturday the Daily Mail ran this story...

For once, it wasn’t wet weather outdoors that caused the delay.

A train driver left hundreds of commuters stranded during the morning rush hour – because his seat was damp.

The unnamed Southeastern Trains driver was due to take a busy service from Hastings in East Sussex to London, but refused to begin the journey after discovering his seat was wet.

So much so normal.

But Eye was copied in the following furious missive to Mail transport correspondent Ray Massey:

I have always thought you to be the least competent of all the national Transport Correspondents, but your words about the wet driving seat took the pissy biscuit even by your own personal low standards.

What exactly would you do if you got to work and found the only seat in your office was soaking wet?

On a train you cannot just sling your coat over it - railway safety jackets are made of nylon, and you will slide off the seat going round corners or stopping at stations. If you try standing up to drive, you can't see out of the windscreen or operate the Driver's Safety Device, which is how people die.

Apportioning the blame to the driver was cheap, nasty, and factually wrong. You are fortunate to be so untroubled by journalistic integrity. Southeastern provided a frank account of how the seat got wet in the first place. Can I suggest you buy Dick Murray a coffee and ask him how to cover transport?

Or, perhaps more usefully for Daily Mail readers, go write about something else altogether?

Growl!!! Steady Tiger!