2016-02-11 Thu

The New All-Singing All-Dancing comedy hit “UP Express”

Expect more from me on this show, especially following the recent articles in The Toronto Star.

But about today:-

I traveled to Clarkson by GO Train, the 11:13 out of Union Station.

The doors closed, ding-ding went the bell, and we inched out of Platform 4, sliding past a 3-car UP Express train waiting at Platform 3.

The UP Express train was in the shade and it was impossible to see how crowded it was, how many passengers were standing in the aisles and so on.

About two hundred yards out of the station we chuggered to a halt, and while we sat there, the UP Express slid past us – in bright sunlight.

I strained to see how many passengers were sitting in the cars, a difficult task given that the UP Express has smoked glass windows. I couldn’t see any passengers but, I figured, that might be because passengers just aren’t visible from the outside.

Or it might be that all the passengers are sitting in seats not visible from the windows; unlikely I know, but keep an open mind, OK?

Then we got going again, and we slid past the now-stationary UP Express!

The light seemed brighter, and I adopted the contrary position – desperately trying to prove that there was at least one passenger visible.

From this different angle and, I thought, in slightly brighter sunlight, I could see right across each of the three cars to the seats on the far side, and those seats were empty. And quite clearly no one was standing in the aisles blocking the view of the seats on the far side.

I was disappointed not to be able to disprove my complaining alter ego.

But here I will record my belief that there were no paying passengers on the UP Express that left Union Station at around 11;15 this Thursday Morning.

Pouring Money Down The Train doesn’t even come close!


Christopher Greaves Home_DSCN3714.JPG

From what we read, it appears that a bomber, with bomb, made an explosive exit from their seat in a jet.

A hole in the fuselage shows where the device and devicee had been sitting. I am assuming of course that this is not a time-warp from chapter 1 of Douglas Adam’s novel “The Long dark tea-time of The Soul”.

WE learn from the computer article that the crew calmed frightened passengers (good!), the pilot brought the plane back for a landing (good!), the plane was at 3,350 metres altitude and climbing (presumably under full power and stress), that all passengers (except one) got off safely (extremely good!), that the engines and hydraulics functioned normally (good!), and that “a chunk of the plane was missing”, and, of course that “we give credit to the pilot who landed the plane.

But here’s my beef: Nowhere is credit given to the engineers, scientists and mathematicians who designed the plane in such a manner that it remained structurally sound, and that if any control lines were severed, redundant lines kicked in, that materials chosen for construction did not behave like that “tear along dotted line” nonsense that never works when you want it to.

In short, that even with a gaping hole in the fuselage, none of the ejected material appears to have collided with control surfaces on the tail assembly (although the sooty deposits are visible streaming back along the fuselage.

The bomb damage appears to have punched out a window and its framed assembly and been restricted to just that area.

I say top marks should go to the designers and engineers, notwithstanding the heroics of the pilot and crew who were, from this account, to follow their emergency training to the letter without undue panic.

Next time you fly, say a silent work of thanks for the diligent engineers who make it all possible.