Massage services

Paris metro operator RATP recently offered passengers a free massage and a healthy snack of green tea and seaweed crackers at four stations. The initiative aimed to ’stop people for five to 10 minutes in their work day so they can take a break and chill out’, according to physical therapist Christophe Basile. Eight types of massage were on offer between midday and 18.00, depending on the length of queues at the time.

On your bike

The introduction of a new computer-based interlocking at Nairn in Scotland last year removed the need for staff to cycle the length of the station between the old mechanical signalboxes up to 20 times each day. But signaller Isobelle Johnston misses the old days in one respect: ’cycling up to five miles a day along the platform helped to keep me fit. It helped to break up the long shifts, too.’ To compensate for the lack of cycling, she has now acquired an exercise bike.

CAPTION: Australia’s national competition policy means Queensland Rail has been obliged to allow competitors access to its lines. Using these rights, Cairns-Kuranda Steam Train Pty Ltd is to operate a former South African Railways Class 24 2-8-4 steam loco which has been overhauled in New Zealand. Nine coaches have been bought from QR, and the company intends to run buffet and open-top vehicles on the popular tourist route. QR’s recently-retired Chief Executive Vince O’Rourke said he welcomed the competition


CAPTION: Norway’s 16 Gardermoen Airport Express EMUs and 13 Signatur tilting inter-city trainsets were hit by an unexpected Y2K bug on December 31 2000. Though the systems were happy with January 1 2000, engineers had forgotten about February 29 2000, and so problems arose on the 366th day of the year. As a temporary solution, the computers were reset to December 1 2000 and all trains were running by January 1