German train reaches 122 degrees
And riders on the infamous overheated MARC trains thought they had it rough.
Even as MARC trains continue to be plagued by delays stemming from overheated equipment and the overheated customers that can result when a train breaks down--MARC created a Web page titled MARC Train 538 Incident Response, and Amtrak announced today it would distribute bottled watter at Union Station on hot days--other railroads are undergoing similar woes. German authorities are looking into whether Deutsche Bahn "negligently caused bodily harm" by continuing a train's journey after its air conditioning broke, the German publication The Local reported this week, in what was perceived as part of a "systemic breakdown."
People laid down in the aisles, and one woman smashed a window as temperatures hit 122 degrees in the train. Nine were hospitalized. "Deutsche Bahn has been penny-pinching in the wrong places," an observer said.
The failures of legacy systems founded on 18th-century technology come at an interesting time. Leaders have begun to invest in bringing sleek, modern, high-speed rail to this side of the Atlantic, after this country has for years lagged behind Europe and Asia in that respect. Stimulus dollars have flowed to rail systems, and some government officials have made it a priority, as the older systems show their age, and in many cases have seen their funding shrivel.
What do you think: Do the operators of old-fashioned railroads need to be sanctioned, or better-funded? Do we fix existing passenger-rail before trying our hand at high-speed, or go full-steam ahead on a new system of tracks, leaving the old rails to freight?
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