Stop thief

CRIMINALS using stolen credit cards on the New York subway are being trapped by the automatic ticket barriers. When a stolen credit card is used to buy a MetroCard ticket, the bank alerts the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

MTA then tracks where the ticket is used, thanks to information held on the magnetic stripe. If the ticket is consistently used at one station, the turnstiles can be programmed to sound an alarm the next time the ticket is inserted. The turnstile flashes red and white lights to alert waiting plain-clothes police officers, who arrest the suspect.

So far a dozen suspects have been caught. The ticket-use records held by MTA can also be used to verify the alibis of suspected criminals.

Tram trouble

A SYDNEY tram was recently painted in the style of children’s book character Thomas the Tank Engine, complete with a smoke generator and sound effects.

Unfortunately, on an early run a passing member of the public, rightly concerned at the sight of a smoking tram at Central Station, called the fire brigade.


CAPTION: German Railway recently suspended an InterCity Express driver from duty, after he stopped his train for lunch. Owing to a 35 min operating delay he missed his rostered break, so he brought his train to a stand in a tunnel near Frankfurt for 20 min while he went back to the restaurant car for a meal