The Anonymous Widower

Isle Of Wight Rail Line Set To Reopen After 10-Month Closure

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

It may have been a long time coming, but let’s hope it’s worth it.

I shall certainly going down, when it opens.

It would appear that the reason for the delay is partly down to software problems.

This seems to me an all-to-frequent occurrence these days.

Could this be that first generation programmers like myself, who honed our skills on small machines in the 1960s and 1970s have mostly retired and are not there to pass on expertise?

September 23, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. In a article of May this year there was this extract
    ” Vivarail Chief Executive Adrian Shooter explained that the train’s software had to be changed to enable it to operate on a third rail system rather than London Underground’s four rails, and said he had instructed his team to thoroughly review the system rather than attempt to ‘patch’it.”

    Comment by fammorris | September 23, 2021 | Reply

  2. The short answer, in this instance, is….. No!
    However, there is clearly a problem as trains become ever more complex entirely through the reliance of ever more complex software. It seems to be a regular occurrence. It’s almost as if the right brains are in the wrong programming environments. Or even vice versa. In this instance, it seems that no one had even considered the change from 4th rail to 3rd. And yet, they’ve moved from 4th rail to diesel gen in previous iterations of conversions. It’s almost as if the logic of these changes is beyond the wit of the conversions teams…

    Comment by Andrew Bruton | September 24, 2021 | Reply

  3. I programmed for fifty years and until about fifteen years ago, programming got easier with each new system. But systems seem to have got worse in the last few years. Look at how Windows 10 is in some ways a downgrade to Windows 7.

    Programming systems are designed to make money not solve problems for users.

    Comment by AnonW | September 24, 2021 | Reply

    • I think you can safely say that again. And also, it would appear that either the software specifications are La king or the wrong programmers are being employed.
      I’ve specified software requirements over the years, but I also appreciate how thorough the spec needs to be to make it work (and having an understanding of what you’re working with. So, there is clearly a missing link somewhere..

      Comment by Andrew Bruton | September 24, 2021 | Reply

      • I’ve been puzzling about Mr Shooter’s remarks concerning the change from 4th to a 3rd ra

        Comment by fammorris | September 24, 2021

  4. While the railway has been out of action the rail+crossing link to the island, the link has used the hovercraft to Rude town instead of the catamaran to the pier head (and then a long walk to town). The connection on the mainland is fiddly and needing a shuttle bus. Looking forward to the simpler connection to the catamaran again

    Developing software for embedded systems is a different skillset to general programming, needing to consider timing requirements of sensors and controllers (I have done some in my career). Not helped by testing environments that don’t always exactly mimic production hardware (the actual trainset) and limited access to real hardware during development.

    Comment by Milest | September 25, 2021 | Reply

    • 👍

      Comment by fammorris | September 25, 2021 | Reply

    • I’ve done both sorts of programming, but people told me my skills were algorithms and getting the human interface right. But I agree with you about programming embedded system as for several years, I shared an office with a team, who developed on-line process control systems.

      Comment by AnonW | September 25, 2021 | Reply

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