Mediocrity rules

News from this morning’s Guardian newspaper:

An investigation into last month’s derailment of an inter-city train at King’s Cross has found that the engineering company, Jarvis, failed to file paperwork for maintenance to a crucial set of points.

Jarvis has suspended an engineering supervisor after the accident, in which a GNER train carrying 150 passengers came off the tracks as it left London for Glasgow. Jarvis admitted a rail was missing because of an employee mistake.

A joint inquiry by Network Rail and Jarvis will this week publish findings which criticise a failure of communication between the two companies.

Industry sources say the two firms relied on a “verbal agreement” to carry out overnight maintenance to the track, rather than keeping detailed records. The points ought to have been disabled after Jarvis’s work but Network Rail’s signallers seemed unaware of the issue.

A rail was missing? A verbal agreement? Sometimes it is hard to believe that this is the same country that once ruled India.