Comment 120483

By Haveacow (registered) | Posted November 30, 2016 at 09:41:20

That was very funny Ryan, sole destroying to a degree yes, but funny!

When the O-train Line was originally being debated here in Ottawa back in the 1990's a councilor like your councilor Skelly asked how trains travelling in opposite directions get around each other on the single track railway line that they planned to use. The councilor was told, passing tracks would be installed at key stations. He then asked how the train would actually access the passing tracks. The staff member answering the question assumed that he was asking about signaling for the line or the operational parameters around which train would get the right of way. The staff member exhaustively answered the question. The councilor then replied in an almost homicidal rage screaming at the planner for not answering the question and wasting everybody's time. With everyone in the council chambers looking around in both confused and amused embarrassment, towards the councilor's tirade at the planner, one of the other councilors spoke up and said, "John, you do realize that the train uses a switch to access the passing track right? It just doesn't jump over to the next track like a cartoon character!"

The reaction on the councilor's face was one of confusion. The staff planner said that "switches", or more precisely the proper technical term "turnouts", would guide the trains on to the passing tracks. The councilor then doubled down asking how reliable these turnouts were and then stating that, "new technology like this would only make the line more expensive"! The councilor was told that turnouts had been in existence for over a 140 years by that time and although they can freeze in extremely cold weather, they are completely reliable and have been so for a very long time. This councilor, one of the O-train's most ardent critics admitted later that, he knew virtually nothing about trains even though they had been debating this subject in council for months by this time. When the information reached the public about this councilor's complete lack of knowledge around anything to do with trains and railways, the councilor's office was virtually berried under an avalanche of "Thomas The Tank Engine" videos and a another children's series of books which was very popular at the time, explaining to little boys and girls how the big trains you see in city work!

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