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A visit to La La Land

La La Land is a place where people grow up unable to accept the existence of a real world. From childhood, their lives revolve around handheld gadgets, bedroom TVs, games consoles and non-confrontational chat forums. Their view of the world is defined by teenage horror movies and fantasy adventures in space; they play chess against their computers and have little or no contact with real people as they morph into the land of make-believe, becoming members of the Flat Earth Society where they will be the first generation to point with their thumbs.

All this may be OK and part of evolution, but problems arise when these individuals leave La La Land and try to integrate themselves into society. One of them has, I am told, just discovered health and safety without any understanding of the issues. He just bumped into it and said “this is amazing”. They find it very hard to tell fact from fiction, enjoying IQs somewhere between nil and zero.

Many believe that Network Rail’s top managers come from this section of society - an opinion best demonstrated by the latest initiative they are using to sell workforce cutbacks to the public.

The La La Landers may be the ones responsible for some of the more outlandish proposals which are rumoured to include revised methods of approving applications for green zones. In future, COSSs will only get one if they can first win 'Total Wipeout' or 'Hole in the Wall'.

We also hear that several old police phone boxes have been ordered and are to be fitted out, under licence, by BBC workshops. They will be positioned next to access points. Trackworkers will then use the box to transfer themselves to their site of work, avoiding any need to walk in the four-foot - a well known place of great danger. As a result, staff will arrive on site 30 minutes before the fault occurs, carrying out preventative maintenance to stop it from happening.

...staff will arrive on site 30 minutes before the fault occurs, carrying out preventative maintenance to stop it from happening.

After travelling back to the access point and resuming real time, they will book the job as retrospective maintenance to confuse the TOCs when they try to claim money for delays.

Test are ongoing and, if successful, it is understood that Network Rail will need to place an order for several thousand boxes which the responsible manager says can be grown from cuttings obtained from the lineside just south of Bristol. One high-flying health and safety specialist has insisted that each box must contain at least two sonic screwdrivers to aid fault repairs. These will replace the full kit of S&T tools and meters as well as p-way jacks and shovels.

In a new development, a remote and exclusive Scottish estate is the secret testing ground for Network Rail’s latest cost-busting experiment. Because the rates of pay for lookouts are proving to be very expensive, 50 meerkats have been imported and are undergoing training on an area of heather moorland. The contents of a Glasgow scrapyard have been deposited over several miles to better replicate trackside conditions.

One of Network Rail's meerkat lookouts adopts a position of safety whilst a train passes.
Photo: Mila Zinkova

Many areas have been earmarked for the introduction of meerkat lookouts. The creatures are to be employed under new conditions of service which include seven-day working, rations but no payment, and getting to work on foot in their own time.

Not only do the La La Landers enjoy their fantasies, they like to impose them on others. Network Rail will see this as a step forward and all the trains to La La Land will doubtlessly run safely and on time, even if the rest don’t.

Story added 1st April 2010

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