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 …

  1. Just Enough

    The rest of that interview

    Reporter: There might have been children on board who were scared, was there?

    Eyewitness: Um, I suppose so.

    Reporter: I expect they cried and mothers panicked?

    Eyewitness: Well.. I didn't ...

    Reporter: There were children in floods of tears and women screamed as they fled from the whirling blades of the out-of-control drone!! You'll never leave your home again for fear of these airborne dealers of death!!! You demand government action on this menace to family days out!!

    Eyewitness: The tea and scones were nice, though.

    1. Hey Nonny Nonny Mouse

      Re: The rest of that interview

      Well you can't beat a nice cup of tea and a good scone.

      1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        Re: The rest of that interview

        "Well you can't beat a nice cup of tea and a good scone."

        Sure you can, all you need is a big stick. Although why you'd want to is another question.

    2. NoneSuch
      Facepalm

      It's science!

      Some anonymous drone operator does not understand the basic principles of the Bernoulli Effect, obviously.

      1. toughluck

        Re: It's science!

        Some physicists don't understand it, either. My wife attended a lecture a couple of years ago where the lecturer demonstrated how a water column is attracted by a rod and explained that this is due to an electrostatic effect.

        Unfortunately, nobody in the audience asked him to charge it oppositely and demonstrate how water is repelled or to neutralize the charge and show how water is unaffected.

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: It's science!

          The water won't be repelled, the molecules will just orient themselves the other way around (water molecules are slightly polarised, hence why it's called a "polar solvent") because their other "end" is attracted to the rod instead. The overall flow will therefore always bend towards a charged rod.

          1. toughluck

            Re: It's science!

            Yeah, but water is deflected with an uncharged rod, too. It's been a while, but as I understand it, this is because the water column pulls air along with it and a rod acts like an airfoil, deflecting air as it moves down and causing low pressure below/downstream from the rod that pulls in air and water towards it, not because of any electric charge present in the rod.

            Even though molecules will be reoriented, the effect on the water column would be negligible, the attractive force is just too low. Otherwise, you could use a suitably large plate to suck up water from a container, or charge a container and cause water inside it to stick.

            1. PNGuinn
              Joke

              "you could use a suitably large plate to suck up water from a container"

              I believe a suitably large cup is more effective.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's science!

          The Bernoulli Effect has nothing to do with electrical charges. It is the principle that an object traveling though air or water (or a similar fluid medium) creates lift (Vacuum or a decrease in pressure) when one path of the fluid (the top of the wing) is longer than the other path (bottom of the wing). The fluid moves at different rates to avoid being separated in order to follow the conservation laws of physics. The same thing occurs when the fluid passes between two objects and if they are the right aerodynamic shape the lift (Vacuum) tends to draw the objects together.

          The drone got too close to the train engine and was pulled into the train by the Bernoulli effect.

          1. bep

            Re: It's science!

            Hmm, the last sentence of your post may be correct, but the preceding explication is somewhat dubious I think:

            http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/11/17/4351644.htm

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's science!

            > The fluid moves at different rates to avoid being separated

            How does the fluid on the upper surface know how fast its companion on the lower surface is travelling?

          3. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

            Re: It's science!

            The Bernoulli Effect has nothing to do with electrical charges. It is the principle that an object traveling though air or water (or a similar fluid medium) creates lift (Vacuum or a decrease in pressure) when one path of the fluid (the top of the wing) is longer than the other path (bottom of the wing).

            Two points:

            (1) the air is always separated. There are many wind tunnel pictures using smoke puffs to show that the air flowing over the wing DOES NOT meet up with the air passing under the wing and, doubly unfortunately for the numpties drawing diagrams showing it rejoining and for those who believe them, the air passing over the wing goes much faster than the air on the underside, so the top-side smoke puff is long gone by the time the bottom-side smoke puff gets to the trailing edge.

            (2) If a wing really works because air passing along the longer side sucks while air passing the shorter side doesn't, then by your logic:

            - no aircraft can fly inverted, yet aerobatic planes do it all the time

            - a flat plate wing can't fly at all, yet any sheet balsa toy glider shows this is untrue

            1. Jos V

              Re: It's science!

              Martin, your arguments hold, but it's mostly to do with efficiency and stability.

              Aerobatic airplanes tend to have symmetrical wings, meaning that the profile on the top has the same radius as the bottom. The angle of attack of the air hitting the wing determines the direction of lift.

              You can fly almost any aircraft upside down, but it will do so requiring a lot more power from the engine as most of them will be tremendously inefficient flying this way, producing a lot of drag.

              Yes, you can fly using a barn door, but the problem with that is that using a flat surface for a wing will mean that you can switch from having proper lift to a full-out stall, or "lift" in the opposite direction can happen very abruptly.

              The angle of attack for the airflow on wings with a rounded profile, as you find them on commercial aircraft can vary quite a lot before anything bad happens.

          4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

            Re: It's science!

            Your explanation of the Bernouilli effect is complete cobblers. Why on earth would fluid not want to be separated? Symmetrical aerofoils are often used, and they have exactly the same bath lengths above and below them.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: It's science!

              > Why on earth would fluid not want to be separated?

              The same reason why water has a memory of the chemicals that used to be dissolved in it[1]..

              [1] That is to say - none at all[2].

              [2] Although there is the argument that surface tension blah blah blah..

      2. Peter Simpson 1
        Thumb Up

        Re: It's science!

        ...does not understand the...Bernoulli Effect

        Well, he does, now!

        :-)

        // expensive or painful lessons are best

      3. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

        Re: It's science!

        ...except that Bernoulli has nothing to do with it. The Bernoulli equations are only applicable to flows of an incompressible fluid, i.e. water, and are not applicable compressible fluids such as air or other gasses. In other words they are a good description of the behaviour or water flowing through a pipe, a venturi, or out through a hole in a tank, but not to an air-stream.

        The Coanda Effect, which describes the way a fluid flowing past a convex solid surface will tend to stick to it, is applicable here because it applies to any fluid, compressible or incompressible, flowing past a convex solid surface. Similarly, its Coanda that describes airflow over the convex top of a wing, not Bernoulli.

        Check the definitions for yourself: even Wikipedia has got this right.

        1. toughluck

          Re: It's science!

          Nope. Coanda effect applies only if water sticks to the rod. If the rod is put next to the water column, but does not touch it, the water is still deflected.

          1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

            Re: It's science!

            Coanda effect applies only if water sticks to the rod.

            Nope. Coanda applies wherever there's a shear in a moving, compressible fluid. The water column is dragging air, whose other side is sticking to the rod, past it. The shear occurring in that air layer as its dragged past the rod is what deflects the water. Air is a compressible fluid, so the combination of viscosity and shear reduces the pressure in the air mass as it passes the rod and, as a result, the water is deflected toward the low pressure region. If the water stream touches the rod then all the shear is in the water stream. Since water is more viscous than air, of course the deflection is much greater.

            1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

              Re: It's science!

              There are no significant compressibllity effects until you reach M0.5 and even then they are slight. At the speed of a falling water column air is, for all practical purposes, incompressible.

            2. toughluck

              Re: It's science!

              @Martin: Ah, ok. Thanks. That was a bit counter-intuitive. My mistake in bringing this all up, but still, it's not the electric charge that deflects the water column, but Coanda effect. At least we agree on that :-)

        2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: It's science!

          > The Bernoulli equations are only applicable to flows of an incompressible fluid, i.e. water, and are not applicable compressible fluids such as air or other gasses.

          You are confused.

          It is not "incompressible fluid" but 'incompressible FLOW' that the Bernoulli equations apply to. The fluid may well be 'compressible', such as air, for the equations, and effects, to apply, but the simple equations only give correct answers when the fluid maintains the same density, or the change is very small.

          Derivations work for compressible fluids where the density change is to be taken into account.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernoulli%27s_principle

        3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: It's science!

          > Similarly, its Coanda that describes airflow over the convex top of a wing, not Bernoulli.

          Actually both do. Coanda explains why the airflow follows the wing surface, until it breaks away. Bernoulli explains the air pressure distributions. Newton explains why the aircraft doesn't fall out of the sky.

      4. Spender

        Re: It's science!

        Even people who think they understand the principles of the Bernoulli effect often don't.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The rest of that interview

      Where is the "won't someone please think of the children?" icon?

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: The rest of that interview

        "Where is the "won't someone please think of the children?" icon?"

        You mean this one? --->

      2. Cynical Observer
        Childcatcher

        Re: The rest of that interview

        You mean this one - only available if you have the courage of your convictions....

        Now....

        What were you convicted of ?

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      @Just Enough -- Re: The rest of that interview

      I see you have the same reporters that we in the States do... Any thing to sell newspapers*, I guess.

      *Or website advertising.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ban them, ban them all...

    Have them all put down, deported, in prison etc. etc.

    Unless, of course, the (ultimate) owner is a media corporation using them to snoop on the latest vapid 'celeb', in which case the colour of their pants or the fact that they were sunbathing nude on a private beach surrounded by twelve foot high fences and armed security personnel is a real public interest story and justifies the use of intrusive technology.

  3. Wiltshire

    Any thoughts about how horrendous a head-on collision would have been?

    Flying Scotman, (4-6-2 configuration, Loco weight 96.25 long tons)

    -v-

    Flying Drone, (0FFS configuration, weight < 1Kg?)

    Not exactly an equal contest.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Joke

      Reminds me of the following joke:

      Q - What's the last thing to go through a fly's brain as it hits a car's windscreen?

      A - It's arse

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @A Non e-mouse

        We've got several droning arses at work, all we need to arrange is to have them hit by train's windscreens.

        Anon because the boss reads this and he's the biggest arse of them all ...

        1. Paul Woodhouse

          Re: @A Non e-mouse

          planing on using the chicken gun or just dangling em off bridges?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Anon because the boss reads this and he's the biggest arse of them all ...

          Robert, please report to the HR office.

      2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    2. Paul Woodhouse

      Think of the cost implications

      They'll have to employee someone to scrape all the drones off the front.at every station....

      1. Velv Silver badge

        Re: Think of the cost implications

        "They'll have to employee someone to scrape all the drones off the front at every station...."

        They don't bother scraping off the remains of other flying objects a train hits. And presumably to be mainline certified the windscreens will have been tested with the chicken gun.

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Think of the cost implications

          the windscreens will have been tested with the chicken gun.

          Which, of course, brings to mind the old tale about British Rail testing the chicken gun with disastrous results; the punchline to the story is "You're supposed to defrost the chicken first."

          I'm sure it's an urban myth, but it's still funny.

      2. PNGuinn
        Headmaster

        Re: Think of the cost implications

        "They'll have to employee"

        For that, sir you deserve the job. Securely tied to the front of the engine for the whole journey.

        1. Paul Woodhouse

          Re: Think of the cost implications

          I have to admit, I was amused with all the arguments on spelling before all this that no one had picked up on that.... in fact, I'd just hung up the flame proof suit when I saw your reply :p

      3. brassedoff

        Re: Think of the cost implications

        More likely a volunteer if it's the NYMR

    3. tony72

      Yes, given the resent study saying that drones present minimal risk to aircraft, and how comparatively fragile an aircraft in flight is to a train, I can only imagine how unbothered the Flying Scotsman must feel about a confrontation with a drone. Be unlucky if the drone managed to chip the paint.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        " the resent study"

        That typo has crept in several times recently.

        The spelling for something that has happened in the not too distant past is "recent",

        "re-sent" is "to have dispatched something again"

        "resent" is the feeling of objecting to something said or done.

        1. tony72
          Meh

          Argh. I'm well aware of how to spell "recent" thank you very much, but as I'm never slow to point out such mistakes when others make them, I guess I'll have to take it on the chin, and try not to resent your criticism.

          1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

            "I guess I'll have to take it on the chin, and try not to resent your criticism."

            Good sport. Duly upvoted.

            Could have blamed it on the spellchucker, or alien mindrays, or any number of "they bastards" altering your post along the way.

        2. Lord_Beavis
          Joke

          @AC

          " the resent study"

          That typo has crept in several times recently.

          The spelling for something that has happened in the not too distant past is "recent",

          "re-sent" is "to have dispatched something again"

          "resent" is the feeling of objecting to something said or done.

          Maybe we should "resent" that study...

      2. PNGuinn

        @ tony72

        I fully agree that the train's attitude to a drone would have been something like "Ok punk - make my day!"

        I do, however have some concern for the safety of the driver and fireman. Those footplates are open, are they not? Quite funny if the thing flew right into an open firebox - very unfunny if one of the crew got it in the face. Especially if as a result someone left the footplate with the train at speed.

      3. JimC Silver badge

        > Be unlucky if the drone managed to chip the paint.

        You do not want to get into a discussion with the more extremely enthusiastic type of railway enthusiast about paint. Just trust me on this. OK?

    4. Steve Evans

      Unfair fight...

      Mr. Prosser: Do you know how much damage this bulldozer would sustain if I just let it roll over you?

      Arthur: How much?

      Mr. Prosser: None at all.

      1. Mpeler
        Coat

        Re: Unfair fight...

        Ahh, but the headaches, and the men on horseback with spears charging in the background...

        (and the flying Scotsmen with bagpipes droning on ... oh, wait)

    5. MJI Silver badge

      Plenty of good drone pictures and footage.

      Someone got too close!

      I bet he had the piss ripped out of him.

    6. Christoph Silver badge

      Head-on collision with the cab window is not exactly something you'd want to try, however strong the window is.

      But greater problem - if the drone owners think flying near enough to a train to collide with it is OK just because they wanted a close look, what happens when they spot an interesting looking car doing 70 on a crowded motorway? That could easily cause a multi-vehicle pile-up.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        WTF?

        Exkeewws me

        What exactly is a 'long ton'?

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Exkeewws me

          > What exactly is a 'long ton'?

          It is what they divide up into 'long weights' so that you can send the apprentice down to stores to get one.

          or: 12% more than a short ton.

          1. Mpeler
            Pint

            Re: Exkeewws me - what exactly is a 'long ton'

            It's what you get when you order the extra-large won ton...

            (Mine'll be Tsing Tao, thank you)..... and some VERY hot mustard on the side

        2. channel extended

          Re: Exkeewws me

          A long ton is the metric measurement 1 long ton = 1016.046 kilo's or about 2235 pounds for those Americans out there.

        3. davemcwish

          Re: Exkeewws me

          Long Ton (UK) - 20 hundreweight (2240lbs) or 241.9268 Jubs

          Short Ton (US) - 2000lbs or 216.006 Jubs

          Metric Ton - 1000 kg (2,205 lb) or 238.0952 Jubs

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Exkeewws me

            You forgot the measurement of BS, Shit tons

          2. D@v3

            Re: davemcwish

            so what's a shit ton ?

        4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Exkeewws me

          > What exactly is a 'long ton'?

          A ton that's longer than a short ton. Obvious really!

    7. Diogenes

      It could be the bounce wot kills u

      Head on little effect, depending on where it it hits the smokebox. as the debris could bounce & take off the safety valve, or take the head off the driver who has his head out of the window.

      Odds very small

    8. Lord_Beavis
      Thumb Up

      @Wiltshire

      Flying Drone, (0FFS configuration,...)

      I see what you did there.

    9. MachDiamond Silver badge

      If the RCMA (remote controlled model aircraft) was heavy enough to make a loud bang on the roof, I would suggest that it was much more than 1Kg.

    10. oldfartuk

      Well, it depends on the relative speed. A 1kg drone travelling near the terminal velocity of a sheep in a vacuum would easily have the kinetic energy to take the train out.

  4. Wommit

    So Flying Scotsman 1 : Drone 0

  5. Spasticus Autisticus
    Flame

    The CAA should find the pilot responsible and throw the book at him. Maximum sentence, f**k his life up, loose job, loose house, loose family (if train spotters have families). F**k one person up so that hopefully others will think twice before being twats with multi-rotor camera platforms. Also might save a serious incident when many innocent people might have their lives upset by the action of one idiot with a 'drone'.

    Where's the 'F**k 'em up' icon?

    1. Unclezip

      I used to have a loose family - then I divorced them.

      1. SolidSquid

        Loose house can be sorted with a screwdriver generally, although sometimes you need a bit of oil for the hinges too after they've been tightened

    2. Lamont Cranston

      He'll surely have

      loose bowels at the thought of all that.

    3. Robin

      Loose life. Loose job. Loose a career. Loose a family. Loose a fucking big television. Loose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Anyone else reading the last few posts above in a Ewan McGregor voice in the cadence of the opening bit of (appropriately enough) Trainspotting?

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Anyone else reading ... posts ... in a Ewan McGregor voice ...?

          Everybody did, I guess ...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't you know how to....

        spell the word "lose"? Or do only the Eaton grads get that knowledge?

        1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Don't you know how to....

          AC: "Don't you know how to.... spell the word "lose"? Or do only the Eaton grads get that knowledge?"

          V.R. Eaton High School, 1350 Eagle Blvd, Haslet, Texas 76052 USA ?

          Or did you mean Eton College, the famous UK 'Public School' ?

    4. Spasticus Autisticus
      Happy

      Thank you so much for all your kindness and down votes. Loose, lose, luse, luce, louse, whatever, there's a clue in my handle perhaps? I try but fail regularly, I read this, I read that, no wonder foreigners think English isn't such an easy language to master.

      Anyway, what the pilot of this camera drone did is probably illegal (private land, close to objects, danger to people) and should be prosecuted as its a nice high profile incident that the media might run with for an hour or two.

      Need a middle finger icon too :-)

      1. adnim Silver badge

        I didn't

        down vote you because I thought it was sarcasm. You were being serious? Still can't be bothered to down vote you. In addition, I never down vote someone for grammar/spelling alone. I am aware that there are more than those with English as a first language using the Internet. Then there are the dyslexic too.

        Me I'm juste a lornmowere, yu kan tel bi teh whey I worlk :-)

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: I didn't

          > Me I'm juste a lornmowere, yu kan tel bi teh whey I worlk :-)

          Old Miss Mort? That you?

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: I didn't

            Keep them mowing blades sharp.

            Or should that be rotor blades?

    5. Peter Simpson 1
      WTF?

      The CAA should...[remainder of rant deleted to save space]

      Or, considering that nobody was hurt, there was no damage to the train (I assume the drone is now small bits of plastic) and the drone pilot is out close to a thousand pounds, we could chalk the whole thing up to experience and save the taxpayers a lot of money, and let the CAA get on with more important tasks.

    6. To Mars in Man Bras!
      Headmaster

      Loose Cannon

      *'...F**k one person up so that hopefully others will think twice before being twats..."*

      Can we give you a similarly harsh prison sentence for 'Crimes Against the English Language' then?

      A bit harsh, I know. But since you're an advocate of a "pour encourager les autres" justice system, I'm sure you'll understand that it's for the greater good.

  6. Rob Crawford

    I would be more concerned about the build quality and choice of materials if even a large multi-rotor managed to break through a carriage window.

    Doesn't excuse the idiots that ruin radio control flying for the rest of us though.

    (I still have the scars on my forearm after assisting an idiot photographer with his bloody (quite literally) DJI Phantom several months ago)

  7. Phil Bennett

    New threat to grouse about?

    If only trains had to consider the possibility of a several kilo flying object hitting a moving train, then we wouldn't be grousing over potential drone impacts, we'd just flip drone operators the bird.

  8. wolfetone Silver badge

    Well my fiancée went to Vietnam and went on one of those over night sleeper, and while she went to the toilet* she returned to see a brick in her window, glass all over her bed. The guard came over, cleared it up and boarded the window up. She slept quite well after apparently.

    However, unlike this Linda person, this incident hasn't left my fiancée with concerns over bricks.

    * hole in the floor of the train

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Happy

      * hole in the floor of the train

      Love those. Probably discourages folks from walking along the rails, so a safety feature as well.

      // don't drop yer mobile

  9. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Reporter: Would you feel scared is the drone had a machine gun on it and was being flown by ISIS? Only a commie would not be scared. Are you a Commie?

    1. Cynical Observer
      Trollface

      Land of the free....

      It's the drones being flown by those who preserve freedom that you really do want to be afraid of.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Land of the free....

        I think you missed some quotation marks out - "preserve freedom", for instance :-)

  10. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Clearly impossible

    "...a UAV collided with the....Flying Scotsman over the weekend..."

    Nope. Clearly impossible. Obviously didn't happen.

    From another story on el Reg, "We estimate that 6.12 x 10^−6 collisions will cause damage to an aircraft for every 100,000 hours of 2kg UAS flight time."

    There are at least 100,000x more aircraft than Flying Scotsmen, so the odds of collision with any given Flying Scotsman must therefore be 100,000x lower than an aircraft. This works out to about..., very roughly..., approximately..., rough order of magnitude, ...

    Exactly 6.12 x 10^-11.

    So the report is clearly nonsense. IT DIDN'T HAPPEN. ;-)

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Clearly impossible

      It's Thursday, It's St.Patrick's Day, this isn't the day for coming out with maths.

      1. John Mangan

        Re: Clearly impossible

        It's ALWAYS the day for coming out with maths!

        1. MrDamage

          It's ALWAYS the day for coming out with maths!

          Thanks.

          Now I have a mental image of my overweight, red-headed, bearded maths teacher from high school wearing spangled, arse-less chaps doing "equations" on the back of his pony-boy.

          Not enough rum, or brain bleach in the world to deal with that.

      2. Cynical Observer
        Pint

        Re: Clearly impossible

        @Wolfetone

        .. though you are clearly happy with his choice of icon :-)

        Have another - for the day that's in it.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Clearly impossible

          And you can have one back :)

    2. Velv Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Clearly impossible

      Having applied a fresh cup of really hot tea you've just proven that the more unlikely something is to occur the higher the probability it will happen sooner rather than later

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        Re: Clearly impossible

        Must have been a million-to-one-chance then...

        1. Ol'Peculier

          Re: Clearly impossible

          Million-to-one chances happen nine times out of ten...

        2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Clearly impossible

          6.12 x 10^-11

          Atcnwt: "Must have been a million-to-one-chance then..."

          You spelled 'ten billion' incorrectly.

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

            Re: Clearly impossible

            *sigh* You messed up the 'sense of humour' settings again, didn't you?

            “Scientists have calculated that the chances of something so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one. But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.” - Terry Pratchett (Mort)

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld_(world)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clearly impossible

      Yeah, but everyone knows one in a million chances come off nine times out of ten so that immediately reduces the odds and makes it almost ten times more likely that some moron will hit the Flying Scotsman with a flying LiPO Incendiary device than they are to hit an aircraft.

      (Credit where due to PTerry.)

      #Speakhisname

  11. Number6

    That interview conversation sounds similar to the ones that take place after every aircraft incident where all the passengers scream in terror, are convinced that they're going to die and the pilot heroically manages to avoid the local school/hospital while fighting to maintain control of his aircraft.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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!

      1. Nunyabiznes

        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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe it wasn't a drone?

    maybe it was 'IRON PIGEON'

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Maybe it wasn't a drone?

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

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Iron pigeon

        It is pretty good.

      2. Wommit

        Re: Maybe it wasn't a drone?

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

    2. Swarthy Silver badge

      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.

    3. Peter Clarke 1

      Re: Maybe it wasn't a drone?

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

  13. Richard Scratcher

    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.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      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.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Police have a good description…

      Was he carrying a flask of weak lemon drink?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        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.

    3. MJI Silver badge

      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.

  14. cortland

    I wonder if

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

  15. Anonymous Coward
    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....

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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!

        1. TRT Silver badge

          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.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          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

        3. HighTension

          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!

          1. MJI Silver badge

            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.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Richard 45

      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.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        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

  16. cosymart
    Meh

    Lester

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

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Lester

      Correct ;-)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Distraction risk to driver...

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

    Oh...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    cloak of invisibility

    problem solved!

  19. Scott Rixon

    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

    1. Jan 0
      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.

  20. Ol'Peculier

    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...

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      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.

      1. ShadowDragon8685
        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.

  21. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    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>

  22. thomas k

    "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.

    1. Craig 2

      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.

  23. Yugguy
    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.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      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.

  24. rcp27
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. JimC Silver badge

        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...

        1. MJI Silver badge

          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.

  25. earl grey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Lovely engine in that picture

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

  26. Pretendiname

    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?

  27. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    "What if it had gone through the window?"

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

    1. TRT Silver badge

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

      The round window or the square window?

      1. MJI Silver badge

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

        All rectangle with rounded corners.

  28. Surrogatemarker

    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

  29. WaveyDavey

    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 ?

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Headmaster

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

      I'd be more concerned about any high-flying ones personally...

      1. TRT Silver badge

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

        Or Flying Scottish ones.

      2. Number6

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

        High-flying 98-ton steam trains wouldn't remain high for very long.

        Although in the pedant spirit shown earlier in the thread, technically it's a 98-ton steam engine. The total train mass is considerably more.

  30. EveryTime Silver badge

    I am so reassured that the majority of my fellow readers had the same reaction that I did.. 'drone:0, train: (did you hear something?)'

  31. wx666z
    Pint

    Lovely Picture

    As usual, enjoyed the article and comments. And I must say what a lovely picture of a beautiful locomotive. Thank you!

  32. TRT Silver badge

    I wonder...

    how many Raspberry Pies could be run off it?

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