Letters to the Editor

Let computers drive trains, not people

There is one issue with the DuPont train wreck that I haven’t heard discussed yet: Why do we still have people driving trains? Everyone’s complaining about not having the Positive Train Control up and running where computers override mistakes the engineers make. Well, wouldn’t it make more sense to just have the computers run everything in the first place and get rid of the human beings?

In case you didn’t know, trains don’t have steering wheels. It’s the engine/car wheels that steer the train by turning themselves to stay on the tracks through curves. Basically, the only thing a train needs to do is speed up, slow down or stop. That’s it. I’m pretty sure that’s something computers could handle.

Think of it this way: There are no people driving roller coasters, right? Well, that’s because roller coasters and trains operate on the same principle of the track wheels steering the cars. And when accidents occur with roller coasters, it’s always due to mechanical failure while with trains I’d bet 95 percent of the time it’s due to human error.

The primary issue with having computers drive trains instead of humans is the problem of what happens to the engineers. Their union is not real interested in just having them all put out of work. This same situation has happened before with railroads when they converted to diesel and coal men weren’t needed and then switches became electric and switch men weren’t necessary, yet both were kept on the job for decades.