Friday, 14 January 2011

Betting And Fishing At The Level Crossing

No one realises the observation powers a bus driver and passengers have.

Being so high off the ground, it is possible to see what's going on over the hedge in someone's garden or behind the curtains of the front room.

Yesterday we sat at the level crossing for five minutes, watching the level crossing operator in his signal box. The passengers were mesmerised by the way he conducted his work. He had the most laid back approach to his duties which he carried out meticulously whilst reading a magazine. He walked up and down the signal box, pushing buttons and pulling levers, without seemingly taking his eyes off the article he was reading. The passengers were transfixed. They started taking bets on what kind of magazine he was reading.

"It's not a fishing magazine," said a voice from behind. We never found out, as the train came and the barriers were raised.

At this particular level crossing, there was one operator who was well known for taking infantile pleasure by keeping the barrier down as long as possible to frustrate the waiting motorists. The barriers were raised too quickly, it couldn't be him. Many a bus driver has cursed this operator for his antics and making their service late.

There's no point moaning. The operator will have all the reasons lined up from health and safety onwards. Besides it is quite nice to have a five minute break, so long as I don't focus on the flashing red lights and their soporific effect. I need no encouragement to take forty winks.

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