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Train of thought


The press has made much of the part played by seemingly tough Pendolino trains in reducing the death rate at the Cumbria derailment (NCE 8 March).

Engineers will be more sceptical, knowing it is virtually impossible to design anything to withstand heavy masses travelling at high speeds.

The survival rate of soft humans coming to a very rapid halt inside a metal box (such as a falling lift) is also not improved by the rigidity of the box.

Unbreakable indows may be given credit, but in a different scenario could have impeded escape from re.

Accidents, by denition, are random events and casualties depend largely on what immoveable objects the vehicle hits before coming to a halt.

Hopefully the points problems can be sorted out before such a grisly theory can be tested in less fortunate terrain.

Dr Stuart Nisbet (M), stuart. nisbet@paisley. ac. uk

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