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Train Operated By A Pigeon

a pigeon will drive your train
  (+6, -2)
(+6, -2)
  [vote for,

Train drivers in the UK are on strike for more money (they earn 50k+) They claim their jobs are highly skilled etc and that their wages should reflect this. I have no idea how much skill it takes to operate a vehicle that has no steering wheel and can only either stop or go, but when I was in San Francisco many years ago, the Bart train was totally driverless.

Given that all train networks are controlled by a live signal system, it seems to me that this same system could drive the actual train, which is clearly what happens with the Bart.

I'm sure this could be made to work, but people still like to see an actual driver and this is where the pigeon comes in, because my idea is for the pigeon to drive the train. (or at least to appear to drive it). Here's how it works:
When the train needs to stop, the automatic system illuminates a red bulb. The pigeon has been trained to peck on the stop button when it sees this bulb. This in turn dispenses a small portion of corn which the pigeon likes and of course eats. Passengers are treated to a video of the pigeon driver in action. (to instill confidence)

Trains only have a few variables ie stop, go, speed up, slow down, so training the pigeon to learn responses to these basic functions should be quite straight forward.

Other more "advanced" birds like crows could be deployed to take on the complex routes with multiple stops with the pigeons left to deal with the basic services.

xenzag, Aug 17 2022

A good start https://www.enidbly...560high+8292012.jpg
Brownies driving the train [a1, Aug 17 2022]

But an unscheduled stop https://www.enidbly...560high+7284916.jpg
[a1, Aug 17 2022]

How Much Does a Train Driver earn? https://nationalcar...ofiles/train-driver
A rather more realistic picture of train driver wages. [DrBob, Aug 17 2022]

Salary scales of UK train drivers https://www.cashflo...rain-driver-salary/
.... Pigeons would be far cheaper - cheap, cheap, cheap, hahaha [xenzag, Aug 17 2022]

Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep cheep https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HSNSTerj2Kc
[xenzag, Aug 18 2022]

Wally Oakes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wally_Oakes
Did everything at once in his final minutes [4and20, Aug 19 2022]

War hero pigeon Cher Ami https://www.worldwa...lost-battalion.html
[xenzag, Aug 19 2022]

He? She? Or just plain Cher Ami? Solving a century-old pigeon mystery https://americanhis...i.edu/blog/cher-ami
But perhaps only of interest to the pigeon and a few curious humans. [a1, Aug 20 2022]

As imagined by DALL-E https://ibb.co/QQx3tnZ
[a1, Aug 21 2022]

The Trolley Problem https://en.wikipedi...iki/Trolley_problem
"The trolley problem is a series of thought experiments in ethics and psychology..." [a1, Aug 26 2022]

BART accidents https://en.wikipedi...dents_and_accidents
not caused by a pigeon [4and20, Aug 28 2022]

Project Pigeon https://en.wikipedi...wiki/Project_Pigeon
If they can steer bombs why not trains. [Skewed, Aug 29 2022]

Don't let the pigeon Drive the Bus! https://en.wikipedi...geon_Drive_the_Bus!
[aniola, Sep 03 2022]


       [+] Brownies - like Enid Blyton's Hop, Skip, and Jump - could also serve. See their "Adventures on the Green Railway," from The Book of Brownies, circa 1926.   

       Even simpler than [xenzag]'s example of "stop, go, speed up, slow down" - The Green Railway engine only had a "go" and "go faster" control.
a1, Aug 17 2022

       Train driver salaries start at 24k & rise to a maximum of 65k. So, for a starting driver (i.e. one who is still fully trained & qualified to drive a train), the take home is about £21k once you subtract tax & NI.

I had a quick search for properties in the area where I am & the cheapest rent I could find for a two bedroom flat was around £1,100/month. So taking that off of the £21k leaves less than 8k a year for gas, electricity, food & other expenses. Doesn't seem like a huge amount to me, even if they are single & living alone. Lord help them if they have a family to look after as well.

It might also be of interest to note that although they were designated as 'key workers' during lockdown their pay has been frozen for the last 3 years & they are generally asking for a rise well below the rate of inflation, even though the latest CPI (Consumer Price Index) rate is at over 10%; the highest it has been for more than 30 years.
DrBob, Aug 17 2022

       The bird nest could be included in the operator's compartment, with a seed dispenser as well. The slow but certain accumulation of poop would require periodic cleaning (or not, as it doesn't seem to bother the bird) so perhaps the previous operator could be rehired for this purpose, Depooper.
whatrock, Aug 17 2022

Voice, Aug 17 2022

       RE salary link, I notice Virgin pays the most. I guess virgins are hard to come by.
a1, Aug 17 2022

       I think you'll find that the strikes by railway workers are not about drivers.
po, Aug 18 2022

       Could also replace all the passengers with pigeons as well.
pocmloc, Aug 18 2022

       Note - I don't use trains in the UK, which are the slowest, most infrequent, most overcrowded, most unreliable, most often late and most expensive (by a massive margin) of any train network in the whole of Europe. The fare system alone is completely bonkers, and so complex that no one can understand it. The country that invented the train is now the perfect example of how to turn a once superb network into a complete shambolic chaos, just as they did their once brilliant car manufacturing, heavy engineering and ship building industries. I actually can't imagine any self respecting pigeon being even remotely interested in operating a train in the UK.
xenzag, Aug 18 2022

       I shall attempt to translate your note into standard Pigeonese. Be a shame if they made the same mistake as those striking humans.
whatrock, Aug 18 2022

       No chance. Pigeons are too smart to stop eating as a tactic to try and get more food.
xenzag, Aug 18 2022

       Here's a song to go with the idea:
"Last night I found myself out driving a train,
Oh wee chirpy, chirpy, cheep, cheep.
Woke this morning and I found it was gone.
Oh wee, chirp, chirpy, cheep, cheep, chirp.",
Chorus link
xenzag, Aug 18 2022

       So we don't let the pigeon drive the bus, but we are perfectly fine if he operates something that ways a as much as a thousand buses?   

       Has anyone even asked the pigeon if they're interested?
RayfordSteele, Aug 19 2022

       They're always interested in food. As regards operating a bus. A bus has a steering wheel and must negotiate traffic. A train has only to worry about the wrong kind of snow falling, or a few hedge clippings on the tracks (in the UK anyway, where I believe pigeon operated trains would be exponentially better than the current non-existent service as the drivers are all on strike)
xenzag, Aug 19 2022

       Then there are train drivers like Wally Oakes, who show a greater propensity for self-sacrifice than your average Passenger Pigeon.
4and20, Aug 19 2022

       // something that ways a as much as //   

       sp. something that is more bigger and more heavier than
whatrock, Aug 19 2022

       Pigeons can be heroes too.... read Cher Ami's story in link.
xenzag, Aug 19 2022

       [xenzag] the presumption being that Cher Ami is a male.
po, Aug 20 2022

       I make no such presumption. Gender is an irrelevance to me. (except when it comes to engaging in acts of procreation that are not intended for procreation purposes)
xenzag, Aug 20 2022

       But suppose the pigeons went on strike? Could you imagine the mess they'd make of Downing Street? (Checks notes as to current resident)... Nevermind then. Carry on.
RayfordSteele, Aug 20 2022

       [xenzag] not you but the article.
po, Aug 20 2022

       // Cher Ami is a male //   

       Probably (link).   

       // Gender is an irrelevance to me //   

       No doubt. We all miss 8th’s stories of your, um, habits? hobbies? profession? Great fun even if they just came from his fevered sweaty imagination.
a1, Aug 20 2022

       8th was easily trained and rose to the bait on every occasion with good humour. It's been quite a struggle to find his equivalent here.
xenzag, Aug 21 2022

       Yes, 8th and Max both - irreplacable. Good Humor is hard to find these days. I really miss those guys. And the ice cream.
a1, Aug 21 2022

       Max was smarter (but still baitable) and still the only person on this site to whom I sent physical items of my work. I managed to convince him I was a French female for several years. To my great joy he based his X project on one of my ideas. Where are you now Max?
xenzag, Aug 21 2022

       // Max was … the only person on this site to whom I sent physical items of my work //   

       Leather or latex?
a1, Aug 21 2022

       Soggy crisp drying apparatus.
xenzag, Aug 21 2022

       Frankly, I imagine a Crow being able to complete this task better than a Pigeon, as they have the smarts of a 7-year-old human, and 7-year-old humans can probably do all that and some more
gonaldgoose, Aug 26 2022

       The crow's additional intellect is only needed for more complex networks. The pigeon can manage the rest perfectly well. (as explained in the idea - pay attention!)
xenzag, Aug 26 2022

       But how would a pigeon or a crow resolve The Trolley Problem?
a1, Aug 26 2022

       I am unaware of "the trolley problem". What is it?
xenzag, Aug 26 2022

       Linked. Thought experiment that inexplicably doesn't mention pigeons.
a1, Aug 26 2022

       I wonder if it would be too much to ask if the poster or one of its female impersonators went line by line through BART accidents and discussed how pigeons would be an improvement.
4and20, Aug 28 2022

       It would be too much to ask me as I’m busy devising an exercise system for lazy badgers, but if you’re curious to know yourself, what’s stopping you?
xenzag, Aug 28 2022

       //my idea is for the pigeon to drive the train. (or at least to appear to drive it)//   

       Well, if they can be taught to steer a guided bomb driving a train should be no problem, there really should be no need to give only the appearance of the thing when they've already been shown to be able to do the thing, with adequately designed systems in place of course.
Skewed, Aug 28 2022

       //I managed to convince him I was a French female for several years//   

       Speaking of which, did we get our custard themed French language April fools idea this year or did I just miss it?   



       A French female what? Basset Hound? Pekinese? some sort of goat perhaps?
Skewed, Aug 28 2022

       I always generate an April Fools here and ever since going on Instagram I do two! (I have very appreciative followers on Insta)
xenzag, Aug 28 2022

       //I have very appreciative followers//   

       Yes we know, we've seen some of the used underpants they send you, and while we're on the subject you really must start using your own address for your 'fan club' .. or at least come and pick up some of the deliveries, were running out of space in the garage.
Skewed, Aug 29 2022

       Advice - it's best if you have an "unsual" hobby not to broadcast it here. (in your case intercepting the post to collect soiled undergaments) From now on your name shall be changed to [Y-Front Skewed] Oh and one more thing..... the majority of my fan club are females ranging from 18 to 40. There are a few older dollies too, but none of them post Y-Fronts so I think we need to see photographic evidence of you posing with your collection (but not wearing them - keep that extension to your hobby to yourself) Chirp, chirpy, cheep, cheep, chirp!
xenzag, Aug 29 2022

       You do realise that you've now made it sound like you have an only fans site ;D as for your accusations? no it just want wash, much like the underpants, not that we've tried, you can do your own washing, you can't direct mail to our address and then claim we 'intercepted' them, and the only reason we're aware of the contents is they were so poorly packaged that some of the parcels have burst, a lot of them are even addressed in crayon, just where did you find these fans? somewhere they don't allow sharp objects, like pens?
Skewed, Aug 29 2022

       I have made no accusations..... was it not you who admitted to storing piles of soiled male underwear in your garage? //were running out of space in the garage.(sic)//As for the "fans only site" - all sorts of domestic electrical apparatus is welcome. If I were you I'd stop now. Tearing open intercepted mail is quite a serious malfeasance. Wearing them on your own Insta page is a bit desperate though, but each to their own.
xenzag, Aug 29 2022



       I really miss a certain pair of individuals right now, a couple of annos back either of them might have turned that into pure gold.   

       We just haven't their talent for this.
Skewed, Aug 29 2022

       You've clearly tried your best, but I agree..... no one has replaced Max and 8th for me, and that's both here and in the private messages we exchanged.
xenzag, Aug 29 2022

       // no one has replaced Max and 8th for me, and that's both here and in the private messages we exchanged. //   

       That raises the question just what kind of private messages you exchanged with 8th. Tell us as a French woman. Did he want you to decline all the propositions for him, and I'm not talking about Welsh actresses.
4and20, Aug 31 2022

       You'll have to ask whom ever is the French woman. Max had a French woman fantasy and it amused me greatly to lead him deeper into the convulutions of his delusion.
xenzag, Aug 31 2022

       Sp. Convolutions   

       ... unless you meant convulsions.   

       Carry on.
pertinax, Aug 31 2022

       Combination of both.
xenzag, Aug 31 2022

       Sounds painful.
a1, Aug 31 2022


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