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A family friend once drove a TGV -he is in fact a medical doctor (don't ask me how he convinced the train driver to let him do so -but he did.

So what? Did your family friend watch the signals, or did the locomotive driver continue to do so? Ditto about the wake signal? Does he even know the railway signal book? Traffic dispatcher and order-giving rules? The TGV's brake percentages? Could he stop the train at the platform, or depart? Could he recognise a motor failure, or know what to do when the aggregator for air conditioning is defect? I can 'hold' the throttle on an airplane, in fact children can do when the pilot lets them in, and that's not even forbidden. (BTW, personally I think that TGV driver who let your family friend in would deserve to be fired.)

Most of the time, a TGV driver would have trouble creating a crash if he tried.

Heh. In the case of a TGV, that's true apart from stations, because the automatic a safety systems are so elaborate. But that only means that would a TGV driver attempt to create trouble, the train would stop.

A bus driver must take corners, drive on mountain roads, has lots of visibility problems, can fall victim of an exploding tyre...

A freight train driver must negotiate tight curves and switches, drive on mountain lines, has lots of visibility problems (with the brake distances trains have, every train driver has lots of visibility problems), and can fall victim to a broken wheel tyre, broken rail, failed brakes (especially on a descent), another train in his route after a signal error, landslides into his right-of-way, and bus drivers crossing the red light.

A jet pilot must be able to land a 4 reactors plane with a single reactor left. What would possibly be the equivalent on a TGV?

Stopping a train with 75% of the braking disconnected. And that's pretty critical. Or initiate braking when you have 1 second for that and jumping out of the train ahead of a collision.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:15:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, of course something CAN happen. But you must get back to 1988 to come up with an example of casualties in a crash in France, and it was not a TGV. Buses drop off a cliff every year. Talk about comparable likelihood...

Yes, our family friend was watching the signals, he happened to know them. He did not stop it at the platform because he realised through this driving that he had a sight problem : so he stopped the train, thinking that he had no right of way, because he saw the sign wrong. Which is crazy -but proves that he could stop the train at least. Try landing a 747, just for fun.

As for visibility problems, I meant when you CANNOT see in the direction where you are going. A train has only one dimension. It is not the same challenge at all -just check the statistics.

Stopping a train with a quarter of the braking power is really, really not comparable to landing with one reactor in 4. To start with, you don't have the problem that you start rotating...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:26:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you must get back to 1988 to come up with an example of casualties in a crash in France

Huh!? Where are you taking this? Just one example:

Accident ferroviaire de Zoufftgen - Wikipédia

L'accident ferroviaire de Zoufftgen s'est produit le 11 octobre 2006, vers 11 h 45 à Zoufftgen en Moselle, à une vingtaine de mètres de la frontière entre le Luxembourg et la France. Il s'agit d'une collision frontale entre deux trains qui a fait six morts et un blessé grave.

Which is crazy -but proves that he could stop the train at least.

You mean, he stopped the train on the open line? That indeed is crazy, I wonder how the locomotive driver got away with it. But it doesn't follow that your family friend could sto at a platform, i.e. knlow the proper braking distance and also achieve it (and that in any weather).

I meant when you CANNOT see in the direction where you are going.

That happens a) in fog, b) in curves, c) in rain or snow if you need to see far, d) in the night for unilluminated objects not too close. I am not sure what statistics you refer to or are even relevant.

To start with, you don't have the problem that you start rotating...

LOL. Curving line on a downgrade? (One of the worst accidents in railway history: a French captain forced a train driver to continue with a train packed full of WWI soldiers from the Italian front on Christmas front leave.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Last lethal crash was one year ago...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 11:51:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After some thinking, I guess you mention statistics still under the assumption that they somehow compare risk between bus and train drivers.

However, that ain't true. It's just that trains have more fail-safe systems and controls on drivers. I.e., if they don't check the brakes or ignore a signal, the train stops or the stationmaster calls them out, if a bus driver does the same, the bus lands in a gorge or collides with a train. It's not that the bus driver has to watch out more.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 12:07:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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