Got to thinking about advances, or at least so-called advances in technology, and the reason why I was pulled towards this line of thought was the fact that we don’t have wheel-tappers any more, and I think we should all be told the reason why not!
All over the world, there were hundreds, if not thousands of squads of highly-trained men, all crouching down at the side of railway tracks, holding bloody great big hammers; and you can’t tell me that they didn’t because I saw one team at Manchester, when I was about seven years old; so there; you can’t fool me! They existed! There they were, crouching down as the train slowly chuffed past them, and every wheel was tapped; well, not exactly tapped, the wheel sort of hit the hammer head and it sounded “Clunk” and the one fella that was nearest the track would solemnly nod his head with every “Clunk”, and you could tell that it meant something; you really could!
Now with my advanced years, I now know that the sound that the ‘tapping’ crew were listening for wasn’t the regular “Clunk” but instead the “Click” which told our highly-trained and expert crew of ‘tappers’ that there was a wheel rim which had developed a fault or a crack, and the sooner that something was done the better! That was ‘Engineering’ in the raw, as it were! Cause and effect! The different sounds of a whole piece of steel wheel as opposed to a flawed and faulty one, and ‘bingo’ there it was!
And now there aren’t any more ‘tappers’ at all; they suddenly disappeared, and no-one knows where they went, or what happened to them, and most importantly, no one told us why they aren’t tapping any more! Don’t they bloody care any more? Here the trains are shovelling along the tracks at high velocity, all over the bleeding shop and no-one’s looking at the wheels! I think it’s disgusting!