Fogs and trains.

I live near a railway line. I have always wondered how do the train drivers manage to run the train during the fog.
While i know its only about spotting the signal and acting upon the course of action as suggested by its color. But this seems to be only a theoretical explanation. You got to see the practical application.
So one day, a train halted near my place and i walked upto the train engine to ask the driver if he could answer a few of my questions about how it was driving a train in fog? He said he was leaving as soon as the signal turns green.
And as he finished the sentence, the signal turned green.
He asked if I would like to hop in and chat? I was free for the day so thought I might do a short trip to the nearby town traveling in a train engine !
I asked the driver as he pushed and pulled the levers and buttons on the train controllers. “How do you manage to look through the fog?”
He said “It’s all about spotting the signal and acting upon its color.”
“If there is fog, we drive slower than normal. Slower the train, lesser the chances of missing a signal.”, said the train driver.
I asked, “But what about the changing tracks?”.
“What about changing tracks? Tracks are changed by track workers on the ground. We don’t have anything to do with that !”, he promptly replied.
He added, “Even when there is no fog. You still can’t see tracks beyond a point.
The fog reduces the visibility further. So we got to slow down to ensure we don’t miss a singnal.”
After sometime I can see another train approaching in our direction on a parallel track. Hardly 50 feet from us. Visibility is low indeed.

I asked the train driver, “So its all about staying focussed when visibility is low to ensure one does not miss a signal.”
“Yes, that is correct. One must stay focussed even where there is no fog though!”, he replied smirkingly.
He realized he was being too curt when he was supposed to be a friendly guide providing answers to the curious me. For he was the one who offered me to join him.

He continued – “Hmm….When the visibility is low we tend to panic. During such times, one should only remember to stay focussed instead of panicking. Things get sorted in sometime. Anyways, all the responsibiltiy does not lie on the driver. There are others too who are working towards our success. But not losing focus is what one must ensure. Unless, of course, the train is at halt. If its not moving, one must take rest.”

After sometime the fog lessened and the sun sprayed the tracks with its light.
I could see the multiple tracks that ran alongside.
It was overwhelming to see how intricably the tracks were crossing each other. One could only imagine how many people get together to make the trains ply on the tracks. May be, when the visibility is low, the idea of the train running on such criss crossing tracks makes us panic. What we tend to forget during that time is that the low visibility has no effect upon the tracks. One must not lose focus when the visibility gets poor.

4 replies to “Fogs and trains.

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