back to article Flying Scotsman attacked by drone

Chilling evidence has emerged of trainspotters deploying drone hordes after a UAV collided with the rear carriage of the Flying Scotsman over the weekend. The legendary locomotive - which recently steamed out of a £4.2m refurbishment - was travelling on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) last Sunday afternoon when …

Anonymous Coward

That reminds me . .

of an interview after a sea disaster (might have been Herald of Free Enterprise) when some clown asked some poor, half-drowned bod wrapped in a towel how he felt when he discovered that his family weren't all dead.

I would have thrown him overboard!

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Anonymous Coward

Many authors started out as cub reporters on a local rag. IIRC they tell stories about their first carefully crafted submissions about local boring events being criticised by the resident hack. They were then shown how to jazz up the details.

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Re: That reminds me . .

My Dad was asked how he felt about having to identify the body of my brother. Even though it was a television reporter on camera and a local sheriff was right there no evidence was ever presented that my Dad really did hit said reporter - breaking his nose. Good job on Sheriff and camera guy.

I would love to have a copy of the incident though - just to remember Dad.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe it wasn't a drone?

maybe it was 'IRON PIGEON'

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Re: Maybe it wasn't a drone?

I vote "iron pigeon" as the new El Reg colloquialism for drone.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Iron pigeon

It is pretty good.

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Re: Maybe it wasn't a drone?

I had to do a quick search to make sure IRON PIGEON wasn't a Laundry Files reference. It's not quite up there with EQUESTRIAN RED SIRLOIN or SCORPION STARE, but it's in the area, and I would absolutely fear what Bob would be going up against with IRON PIGEON.

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Re: Maybe it wasn't a drone?

The build quality on those drones are rubbish. I vote for 'Plastic Pigeon.'

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Re: Maybe it wasn't a drone?

Hmmm, anybody know if Dick Dastardly and Mutley are employed at the moment???

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Police have a good description…

…of the man piloting the IP (drone).

He is believed to be in his mid-forties, greasy haired, with thick NHS spectacles. He had saliva stains down the front of his green knitted pullover and he was wearing an anorak.

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Re: Police have a good description…

That could just as well describe the official stalker of one of the high-profile train spotters, or a camel spotter.

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Re: Police have a good description…

Was he carrying a flask of weak lemon drink?

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Re: Police have a good description…

He is believed to be in his mid-forties, greasy haired, with thick NHS spectacles. He had saliva stains down the front of his green knitted pullover and he was wearing an anorak.

A quick phone round the IT departments of the local business should turn him up then.

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MJI
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Re: Police have a good description…

I have only met one person who would match that description and......

1) Had social integration issues.

2) Not very bright, actually thick.

3) The rest of the spotters avoided him.

Most spotters were ordinary people who prefered machines to sportsmen.

I prefered jeans, heavy metal band T shirt, biking gear, and decent metal framed glasses.

If you were friendly and chatty you got to have footplate rides and learn about the railway.

Many happy hours spent watching trains and taking the piss out of passing mods on their scooters.

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I wonder if

When governments outlaw drones, our respective legislators are declared redundant.

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Anonymous Coward

As a former train driver....

... I can assure you that the damage done to any locomotive or carriage would be absolutely minimal. It was a regular occurrence on London-Norwich expresses to collect a pheasant on the front of the loco between Ipswich and Norwich (stupid things think they can outrun a 90mph train...), or to have them bounce off the side of the carriages (they also appear not to be able to see something going 90mph across their field of vision) and a full-grown pheasant is both bigger and heavier than most drones. Amount of damage done to pheasant: considerable; amount of damage done to locomotive or carriages: none that couldn't be cleaned off with a wet rag.

However for the truly spectacular I once hit a pigeon with 2 Class 37 locos and about 1500 tonnes of container wagons. The word "disintegrated" springs to mind....

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Re: As a former train driver....

Please then explain how "leaves on the line" stops these things working as designed (i.e. to be a public transport system).

And, no, I still don't buy the "it leaves gunk on the rails that makes them slippy", as even the Scandi-wegian countries have trains that run on rails throughout their winters.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As a former train driver....

Most of the Scandiwegian countries don't have large amounts of deciduous trees lining their railway tracks. Unfortunately we do; in many cases we can't remove them because either:

a) there would be a public outcry both for visual reasons and the fact that the lines would become far noisier without the tress alongside the line

b) most of the embankments would require enormous amounts of work to secure them as, in the areas where the lines are lined with trees, they are now entirely held together by root systems.

The problem is also prevalent in the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, New England and the mid-Atlantic States.

In the days when I drove trains most of the freight wagons, and indeed many of the locos and multiple units, had block brakes, which were applied to the circumference of the wheel. This roughened the wheels' surface, which in turn roughened the railhead. This meant that when leaves got between the wheel and the rail they were between two rough grinding surfaces, which quickly broke them down and allowed the trains' wheels to grip, whether accelerating or braking. The replacement of these older wagons, units and locos with newer, disc-braked ones has meant that the wheels and rails are no longer roughened in everyday use

The biggest problem with leaves on the line is a loss of braking traction, older disc-braked units tend to "pick up", meaning the entire unit is in a slide; newer units fitted with ABS (since the problem was realised and understood) require much longer braking distances, both of which mean that trains have to run at reduced speeds and greater intervals in order to allow for safe braking distances. This is why many rail operators, both here and abroad, now run special autumn timetables to allow for the safe running of trains.

Having still been driving as the phenomenon started to occur in the mid-80s I can assure you that there are few feelings more frightening than having a fully loaded 12 car unit in the evening peak, suddenly go into an uncontrollable, and at that time inexplicable, slide when applying the brakes at a station in exactly the same way you have done several hundred times before, and when you can still see the back of the next fully loaded unit beyond the next signal!

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TRT
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Re: Please then explain how "leaves on the line" stops these things working as designed

Exactly the same principle as hitting a drone head on at full tilt actually; conservation of momentum.

In one case, changing its velocity from 0 to 60mph, and the other changing its velocity from 60mph to less than 60mph - the many tons of iron has an inherent unwillingness to change velocity that must be overcome by the force in opposition. A drone weighing at most a couple of kg can do very little overcoming before it exhibits plastic deformation of the catastrophic kind. A ~1400 horsepower steam engine trying to overcome the inertia of 98 tons of train through a contact surface area of a couple of square feet at most requires the highest possible coefficient of friction, something that a paste made of mushy leaves doesn't afford.

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MJI
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Re: As a former train driver....

Nice to see the explanantion from a former driver.

Brake blocks did seem to be self cleaning.

And I will admit to liking 37s

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Re: As a former train driver....

Never mind pigeons, how about seven cattle. Back in the late 80s, 37427 ran into said cattle on the track somewhere around Dovey Junction IIRC when the Euston>Aber Cambrian Coast Express was still running. The scene of the slaughter was quite horrific, apparently. The damage to the loco? A minor dent on the nose end just above the buffer beam. Oh, and some wag painted on a tear under one of the headcode box marker lights.

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Re: As a former train driver....

Doesn't the sanding equipment on modern trains mitigate the lack of contact point friction somewhat? Or does it only work for acceleration?

I have to say on my line (GN Hertford branch) I've *never* seen any sand coming out of the units on our Class 313s.

Nice to see a rail veteran on here. I was a "spotter" too (Midlands area), my favourites were the Devon/Cornwall Class 50s, from New Street (great sound), Class 45's (had a brilliant visit to Tinsley Depot before they all went), Paired 20s, 56s and 58s at Bescot and watching coal trains and HSTs at Water Orton, and of course the amazingly reliable 37s. Also once saw a 31-hauled nuclear flask train on the Cross-City line at University station. The "new" 60s looked fantastic in the grey+logo departmental livery IMHO.

Really miss the variety of locos we had back then, they all seem to look very US-type these days.

Wow, just nerd-outed myself in a big way!

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MJI
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Re: As a former train driver....

It takes a tractor to break a loco.

Seen the results on a 47 at Horton Road after hitting a tractor.

Needed a cab

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MJI
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Re: As a former train driver.... EE lumps

New locos. Yes they are North American and are nicknamed sheds.

I am a big fan of the 50s, had a few great runs behind them, those V16s sounded lovely.

The old EE 10" bore 12" stroke lump has to be one of the best prime movers in railway history.

For information, fitted to in versions ranging from 250bhp to 3300bhp

Most larger shunters, the LMS and SR prototypes, all EE locos except ones with Deltics.(20, 37, 40, 50, DP2), 31s, 56s, 58s, 73s

2 valve no turbo, 2 valve turbo, then 4 valve, then intercooling, then better materials.

So the engine in those 1930s shunters at 250bhp was developed into the standard shunter engine of 400bhp.

The LMS twins of 1600bhp (2 valve), 40s at 2000 (4 valve), 50s at 2700 (intercooled), then 56s at 3250 (better materials so rev higher), all same basic V16 engine.

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Meh

Lester

"I'm getting old and cynical" = I am older and even more cynical :-)

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Lester

Correct ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Distraction risk to driver...

Yes, it could cause him to swerve and lose control...

Oh...

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Anonymous Coward

cloak of invisibility

problem solved!

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Did the Yorkshire post realise that the youtube video they linked was filmed by a drone?

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/transport/drone-hits-flying-scotsman-on-north-york-moors-outing-1-7802314

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Pint

Re: Yorkshire Post Video

Full marks to Yorkshire Post. You don't have to toggle temporary permissions for dozens of scripts on the web page in order to watch the video. Just allow yorkshirepost.co.uk!

I wish my local rag would do the same, I've given up trying to work out which combination of third party scripts needs enabling in order to watch their videos.

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Further reporting

http://www.gazetteherald.co.uk/news/14351263.Drone_hits_Flying_Scotsman_on_North_Yorkshire_Moors/?ref=rss

Poor guy, just gone off the rails a little bit...

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Happy

Re: Further reporting

...is an offence due to the fact that they can cause an obstruction and endanger the safety of the train. -- so sez Inspector Bob Moody

Well, flying drones around trains may well be an offense, but it's going to take a heck of a lot of work to convince me that a train is going to be disturbed in the slightest, never mind obstructed or endangered, by any drone iron pigeon smaller than a General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (armed or otherwise).

// proof of my assertion can be found at any level crossing where a motor vehicle has contested a train's right of way.

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Mushroom

Re: Further reporting

I'm pretty sure an MQ-1 Predator with a Hellfire could cause significant (terminal) disruption to the boiler of a steam locomotive. Icon is a visual representation of what would occur.

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Boffin

Ye cannae change the laws of Physicss

As we know from Newtons Laws of Motion when a pendulum changes direction it has to stop. So if a bumblebee hits the front of the Flying Scotsman it must momentarily stop the train as the bee reverses it's course. Or it could just be a glitch in the Matrix! <dons tinfoill hat>

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"FAA's 'drone smash risk to aircraft' is plane crazy"

So, I guess that's true, then - it's the trains we need to worry about.

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Re: "FAA's 'drone smash risk to aircraft' is plane crazy"

Yep the FAA should limit all trains to a maximum altitude of 400ft.... Doc Brown better watch out.

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Devil

It may not be dangerous.

But it is another symptom of the modern "it's my right to be an annoying cunt" disease.

Yep, it sure is, but can it also be my right to smash your fucking irritating drone out of the sky? In fact now we're going how about extending to this to having the right to ram those fucking annoying droning little bastard cunting 16 year old moped riders off the road also. They're the same, just annoying little noisy buzzing things that need to be squashed.

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Re: It may not be dangerous.

Modern? Idiot assholes are not exactly a new phenomenom, are they? They just find new and creative ways of being idiotic assholes, that's all.

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Coat

Pedant Alert

"Flying Scotsman" is the name of the locomotive, not the train. If the drone hit "Flying Scotsman" then it hit the locomotive. If it hit some carriages behind the locomotive then it didn't hit "Flying Scotsman". "The Flying Scotsman" (with the "The" on the front") is the name of a fast train service between London and Edinburgh. The drone in question went nowhere near that. If you think I'm just being picky, consider how irritating it is when your elderly relative talks about "the computer" when they are referring to just the monitor.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pedant Alert

I think you'll find that the flying scotsman is the name of the train service and NOT specifically the locomotive.

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Re: Pedant Alert

> I think you'll find that the flying scotsman is the name of the train service and

> NOT specifically the locomotive.

No, its simple. When there's a big board on the top front of the steam locomotive then that's the name of the train. So in the vase of the photo shown the name of the train is "the Flying Scotsman". Except that of course its not. The Flying Scotsman hasn't been pulled by steam locomotives since the 60s. So actually its another train *pretending* to be the Flying Scotsman. When there's a name about half way along the side of the locomotive then that's the name of the locomotive. Which in this case is Flying Scotsman. If there's a name on the side of the passenger carriages at roof level above the windows then that's either the name of the train or the destination, depending. If there's a name on the passenger carriages painted on below the windows that's the name of the carriage, which is usually only very high end ones. Back in the day some companies named their locomotives after places on the railway. Passengers used to think that those were destinations, not locomotive names, and get on the wrong train.

See what a mess sloppy naming conventions and confusing labelling can get you into. Funny how every generation and technology has to learn the same lessons...

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MJI
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Re: Pedant Alert

Why did they use the service name as a loco name?

The service was also ran by A4s like Mallard, and SNG, then Deltics named after race horses and regiments.

Then the HSTs SOME named, then the 91s. In between the hybrid sets with too much power.

Soon to be those new Hitachis things which seem like they may be a bit of a downgrade.

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Unhappy

Lovely engine in that picture

Too bad i'm too far away to have a go on her....

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Could drone regulation create a "Space Race" type of situation

Engineers have always come up with the fastest progress under pressure. If the government was to legislate on drone licensing over a certain weight, I imagine the end result would be a lot of innovation in lightweight drones.

I understand batteries and physics exert limits on these things, but if you could have HD video, and a reasonable flight time, and not put a ding in someone's paintwork - is that not a pretty good thing?

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"What if it had gone through the window?"

Then someone on the train would now have a free drone!

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TRT
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Re: "What if it had gone through the window?"

The round window or the square window?

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MJI
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Re: "What if it had gone through the window?"

All rectangle with rounded corners.

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Thank you for the English Lessons

I'm from Philadelphia in the United States and I am very much enjoying the free English lessons I am receiving by reading all the comments in this article thread.

With sincere thanks!

Mark

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So let me see if I have got this straight ...

We are looking at legislation to prohibit low-flying, 98 ton steam trains within 5 miles of an airport facility, yes ?

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