Mollusc Of The Week (2)

As a long-standing, and rarely sitting, commuter for many years I have heard many an excuse for the delay or cancellation of train services but this is a new one on me.

On May 30th the normally efficient railway in southern Japan operated by J R Kyushu came to a halt, with 26 trains cancelled and many more delayed because of a power outage.

The reason for the failure was quickly tracked down to a device which had short-circuited. The problem was soon rectified and services resumed. But it is only now that the full details of the chapter of events that led to the outage have been revealed.

On opening the box housing the device, engineers found the charred remains of a slug, about 2 to 3 centimetres long. The kamikaze mollusc must have got through the casing somehow and touched an electrical cable inside, frying itself in the process as well as triggering a massive power failure.

J R Kyushu describe the set of circumstances that led to the disruption as “rare” but I am sure that it will find its way into Network Rail’s book of ludicrous excuses.

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