GO Transit Designers Surprised to Learn of Toronto Snowfall, Sub-Zero Temperatures
HAVANA, Cuba (SP) — The numerous delays and cancellations plaguing the GTA-area GO transit system this winter came as a surprise to GO's chief designer, Paco Fernandes of Acme Railway Design SA. Reached at his office in Havana, he explained that the design of the regional railway system was undertaken by only his most trusted and senior engineers — the same engineers who have worked on the Havana - Valparaiso railway, the Cairo - Alexandria railway in Egypt, and who are currently working on the Darwin - Alice Springs connection in northern Australia.
When informed that this year's above-average snowfalls and colder-than-average temperatures were wreaking havoc with GO's track switches, Fernandes replied, "¿Snow? Señor, they never say no-thing about snow when they ask me to dee-sign thees seestem. ¿Entiendes?" He suggested that a once-in-a-century event such as a snowfall would normally fall outside of a system's design parameters. Upon hearing that it is commonplace for Toronto temperatures to remain sub-zero for weeks on end during the winter months, he became visibly distressed. After hurried discussions with some colleagues, he declared, "Sí, señor, we deed know thees when we dee-sign thee seestem. ¿Why else you theenk we een-stall forty hot-air blowers on thees railway sweetches, eh?"
When asked why the remaining 222 switches were not fitted with the devices, Fernandes terminated the interview. "¿You want your railway in thee cold? You call thee Norwegian office. Adiós, señor."
At GO's head office, general manager Gary McNeil acknowledged that dealing with Acme Railway Design's Norwegian subsidiary might have been more sensible. "To tell you the truth, we were initially dealing with Acme Railway Design AS. Somewhere along the line we mixed up those two letters, and all our correspondence ended up going to the Cuban outfit. I guess 'SA' is the Spanish abbreviation for 'Co.' or 'Ltd.' or whatever, and in Norwegian it's 'AS'. Hmm. Who knew? But anyway, where would you rather go for a railway switch demonstration in February: Trondheim, or Varadero?"