17 people were injured, some lightly, when a commuter train derailed at Tring this morning, causing widespread delays across the entire rail network and to some shipping lanes.
London Midland train company couldn’t believe it today when the 06.48 service from Northampton left the rails just north of Tring station with 948 people compressed on board. The cause of the accident is speculated to have been a punctuation error in the recent London Midlands timetable. Arnie, of London Midland, said ‘The train was approaching Tring station when it left the track at approximately 08.23. We immediately shut down the surrounding area and summoned emergency personnel to the site to coordinate a press release. We are unable to comment further at this time.’
Whilst the damage to infrastructure was significant, injuries seemed to be slight. A passing hospital reported a small number of walking wounded attending A&E, with afflictions ranging from damaged wallets to an amalgamated orgasm. One passenger was admitted with advanced head cancer, although this is thought to be unrelated to the accident. No-one is believed to have been killed in the crash, but a number of people were seen wandering the track, confused and dazed and unsure what to do. Network Rail denied reports that engineers were at work on the line that morning.
London Midland have, apparently, begun an inquiry into the incident. Alexander Domestic-Appliances, editor of the suspected timetable, told WAFTI, ‘It appears that a full stop was accidentally inserted into the Northampton to Euston section of the timetable, immediately after the word ‘Tring’. This ad hoc punctuation was detected by our train’s Automatic Semantics System, ASS, and caused the train to bounce off of the rails at this point. Whilst we regret the loss of dignity suffered by our passengers, this does show that the system is operating as designed.’ Asked whether the offending timetables will be withdrawn and corrected, Mr Domestic-Appliances lit a cigarette and leaned against a nearby fridge casually.
The incident has raised concerns over London Midland trains’ ASS. The crash recalls an incident on a British Rail train in 1985, which collided with an emu near Chipping Sodbury after a performance of ‘Die Fledermaus’ at a local theatre interfered with the trackwork. In both of these cases, the train’s technology responded to something stupidly unlikely to affect passenger safety. As a result, a recent resurgence in the popularity of light opera and grammar in the Home Counties has caused lesser publications to speculate on the likelihood of a much more serious accident in the near future. Network Rail has been unable to comment until it has completed its internal investigation of the tracks and signalling in the area, and has initiated engineering work to ensure that the Straussian conductivity of the rails is within the limits specified by some government guy.