Railways Will Need a New Excuse for Lateness

12 May 2002
Posted by Chris Smith.

"Your train has been delayed because of leaves on the line" says the crackly British Rail announcement. This problem causes havoc for rail commuters, and cost Railtrack £60 million in 1999. But it could be a thing of the past thanks to a sci-fi invention to blast leaves from the track. Former naval officer Malcolm Higgins has devised a laser gun to scour railway lines of leaf slime, and a prototype of his invention will be tested in the autumn. Inspiration hit Malcolm, who doesn't travel by rain and isn't a scientist or engineer, when listening to a radio news commentary about leaves on the line.

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