I came home from our last ESNG with a pile of old rail magazines, prototype and model. Ian was offering them free to any takers, and what was left I offered to take home and have a browse then recycle them. I suppose I could keep them for the show, but in the past when we have had piles of old magazines, only a few get sold and most are dumped.
However, I thought that looking back through these magazines might just produce a few interesting snippets for the blog. Especially the copies of Railway Magazine from 1971 – these are really interesting as steam has been gone just the three years and I am still at school! So over the next few months, I’ll drop a few interesting gems into the mix. Probably without photographs, as I’m not sure about copyright here (though I suspect 1971 is long enough ago for no-one to be too worried).
We’ll start with this unpleasant snippet from the relatively recent January 2015 edition of Railway Magazine. Under the title of “Class 387 EMUs enter service”, there’s a little paragraph to end the article:
At Bletchley depot, the toilet systems are being tested using dog food as it has the same consistency as human waste It is also far easier and more hygienic, technicians explained, to clear any blockages using dog food rather than the real thing.
Well, I haven’t got a dog, and don’t want one, but I’ve always had my doubts about dog food. I’ll never again see the pet food shelves in the supermarket without a smile.
Keeping up the toilet theme, John Cousins writes in the September 2014 issue on the subject of Class 159 toilets…
Having recently experienced the pleasure of riding First Class in a 159 courtesy of UK Railtours I was flabbergasted to find how complicated access to and egress from the toilet is.
One push button to open the door and yet another to close it, yet another to lock it, another to open the door and yet another to close it. All these in addition to the flush button and push buttons for water and the hand dryer.
Whatever happened to the common sense of a similar facility in a Mark 1 coach where one had an oval knob to open the door, a simple locking device and a handle to flush the toilet, taps which would turn on and paper to dry one’s hands?
Why on earth do we wish to install a more complicated system with a far higher risk of failure and disregarding those suffering from claustrophobia with a fear of the electronics failing?
The official answer was that the push buttons are a requirement for disabled access, and in any case are no more complex than those buttons of the main train doors. However, whilst I thought that this correspondent had a rather optimistic memory of the Mark 1 toilet – that was often a graffiti ridden failure – many toilets in other locations don’t need buttons for disabled access?