Monday, 11 July 2011

Miles and chains - a sign of the times?

This from the late Edmund Gunter...

Sadly the new generation of railway employees appear ignorant of traditional British units of measurement as still used by the railway.

This particular example has been an affront to my eyes for many years as a regular commuter on the Portsmouth Direct.

I noticed in August 2005 that the cast iron structure plates on the footbridge at Haslemere station had been replaced by new aluminium ones with the distance of 42m 80c cast into them.

I mentioned this to Network Rail friend and the plates were recast with the correct 43m 0c on them, which I noticed in October 2005.

In October 2008 Network Rail decided to change the style of the structure plate from the cast aluminium ones to corporate standard "road sign" material with a reflective backing and the incorrect 42m 80c returned!

Nearly three years on the "wrong" plates are still there.

Presumably attention to detail on today's railway is now optional?

UPDATE: This from Steve Strong...

Why isn't there a bar code, or some other scanable identity recognised by the Asset Register, on the last one?

UPDATE: This from The Man by the Photocopier...

Actually, the latest plate suggests that the primary distance is 42 metres, according to SI.

Since the railway will have to change to metric units as ERTMS spreads (and the Rule Book has already largely been converted), perhaps we should bite the bullet and consign these increasingly irrelevant Imperial...
(Sadly, owing to pressures of space, Eye is unable to reproduce all the rabid Metric rantings of The Man by the Photocopier)