Can you smell that?

Or is it just me? ‘Stationmaster SACKED for leaping onto tracks and pulling trolley out of path of oncoming trains‘ claims the Daily Mail – a story so scandalous that it receives the coveted BIGGEST STORY IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW SPOT on the Mail website:

Elf N Safety gone mad
Arms crossed in disgust, Ian Faletto is a tabloid dreamboat.

So, Mr Faletto ‘leaped’ onto the track and pulled a trolley out of the way of not just one train, but oncoming trains. He’s clearly some kind of superhero, yet here he is in PC-elf-n-safety-gone-mad-Britain getting the sack for saving the day.

What is that smell?

In the first three paragraphs of the article the Daily Mail makes it perfectly clear exactly what happened:

A dedicated station master has been sacked after 27 years working for the same company – for pulling a shopping trolley off the track.

Ian Faletto jumped onto the line at Lymington Pier train station, Hants, and pulled the obstacle back onto the platform after it was chucked on by yobs.

He was dismissed for ‘a serious breach of safety’ by heartless South West Trains for his act of bravery, which prevented a crash with oncoming trains.

Yet the Daily Mail then makes it clear (in the words of Mr Faletto) that:

‘I saw the trolley on the line at Lymington Pier, got power turned off and managed to remove it before the first train arrived that morning.

The BBC report the same:

The Reverend Alex Russell, vicar of St Mark’s Church, Pennington, has started a petition calling for Mr Faletto’s reinstatement.

She said Mr Faletto had told her he saw the shopping trolley on the line and saw a “potential danger”.

He then called a nearby station to switch the power off before removing the trolley from the track, she said.

So, according to the Reverend Alex Russell and Mr Faletto he didn’t spontaneously leap onto the tracks in front on an oncoming train because presumably the same notification that switched off the power would also have warned any train drivers of an obstacle on the track.

The BBC also make it abundantly clear that the company – South West Trains – have refused to comment on the specific reasons why Mr Faletto had been sacked, but they did reveal the following:

A South West Trains spokesperson said an employee had been dismissed for a “serious breach of safety” but refused to officially explain what this was.

“This action was taken following a full and thorough internal investigation and the decision was also upheld at an appeal hearing,” he said.

“Our absolute priority is to run a safe railway for our passengers and staff.

“All of our employees are aware of the importance of complying with the strict rules governing railway safety, which we have a duty to enforce, and the serious consequences of disregarding them.”

So, the decision was made following an investigation and survived an appeal. It seems to me that this must have been a serious matter and that we’re only – as usual – hearing one side of the story. The truth is that South West Trains have to respect the privacy of the ex-employee so can only confirm basic facts and not give further details. This suits the tabloid press who can call said company ‘heartless’ and blame health and safety safe in the knowledge that the truth probably will not out as long as we only hear from Mr Faletto and friends.

Whilst all I am left with is this annoying whiff of bullshit.

Those interested in the original article posted on the Southern Daily Echo website can revel in the comments – some regarding their personal impressions of Mr Faletto, some blaming ‘Political Correctness’ for the decision, invoking Stewart Lee’s thoughts on confused people unable to seperate political corectness and health and safety legislation.

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