Monday, January 12, 2015

intershitty 125

I caught a bit on the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning about the possible health dangers posed by the quaint habit train companies have of flinging raw faecal solids onto the tracks. You'll recall I did a blog post about this a while back, expressing some surprise that this was still legal - well, it turns out that something in the region of 10% of train carriages (the ones built prior to 1990) still adhere to the just-chuck-it-on-the-tracks approach. This has been the cause of some concern, not least in Diss in Norfolk and Rochford in Essex where a luxuriant crop of tomato plants has apparently sprung up along the tracks, from seeds (we're presumably meant to infer) pooped out by passengers. Not sure whether any station staff have nipped down onto the tracks to harvest them for the buffet trolley - if so they might want to give them a rinse first.

And consider this - here we are, fifty-odd years after Dr. Beeching closed a third of the British railway network, at which time ALL trains would have just been fitted with the standard poop chute.


So if we assume, since Beeching cut the network mileage by roughly a third, that there'd have been roughly 1.5 times as many carriages about, that means that there'd have been 15 times the volume of raw sewage being flung about as there is today. And bear in mind that's probably an underestimate, because trains were a lot more popular then. So back in the 1940s and 1950s people would have been merrily trooping off on the train in their thousands:
  • to the seaside
  • to work
  • to war to be senselessly slaughtered in huge numbers
- all the while being relentlessly spattered with a fusillade of their own shit. And, remember, this is in times of post-war austerity, powdered egg, no bananas - you can imagine the likely consistency of the results. Not like those shifty French and Italian types with their oily Mediterranean diet and their loose untrustworthy stools - Johnny Britain would have been producing motions with the consistency of obsidian which probably shattered when they hit the tracks, sending foul-smelling shards of shrapnel hurtling towards bystanders. No wonder everyone wore hats back then, and smoked relentlessly to hide the smell.

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