I was reminded today of bygone days when humour was a sneaky addition to a working day. Rolling stock normally carries a fault book, the same thing is found on aeroplanes, ships and most plant. The fault book includes a copy page that remains with the book always and these books are scrutinised by maintainers and operators alike. The operators look to the fault book to explain their poor experience which they can normally associate with the maintainer failing to resolve a previously reported defect and the maintainer far his part curses the subjective faults such as ‘losing time’ or ‘too cold’.
When the world was a saner and less litigious place these books gave an outlet for creativity in what could be a hard workplace. I recall well the social experiment that we conducted in response to the irritating ‘losing time’ reports one day, I filled in the maintainer section with an artistic flourish stating that ‘K-528 relay found 2 pound light – adjusted now ok’ and we waited. Within days we had half a fleet booked with ‘suspect defective K-528 relay’ and a healthy dose of overtime was spent adjusting the same.
Eventually a summons led to the Depot manager who explained that he to had been summoned to his gaffer to explain the sudden rise in K-528 relay defects, of course there was no such relay and therefore nothing to adjust. A more senior colleague explained that by giving the operator an outlet we had been able to solve his perceived problem and sure enough an investigation revealed that there had actually been a reduction in the phantom reports in favour of an invented defect, I like to think that we were just ahead of our time.
The web provides many examples of the humour that used to be an occasional visitor to fault report books but here are a few that have made me smile over the years:
Cab heater poor – £1 and bowl of soup given to cab heating
Something adrift in cab desk – something refitted in cab desk
This book is full of faults that you haven’t fixed – new book installed
High pitched squeak from cupboard sounds like a mouse when at high speed – unsure what a very fast mouse sounds like but cat placed in cupboard just in case
Seems to be a Gremlin in electronics – gremlin removed, fed and watered and parents called to collect
Drivers seat too low – Taller driver ordered
Suspect wheel flats on B car – Suspect your right
Oil on damper, evidence of leak – all evidence removed
Ah those were the days