Runaway train saved by whale!

A fatefully placed whale sculpture in the Netherlands saved a careening train from certain devastation Monday, catching the lead runaway metro carriage on the graceful arc of its mammoth tail.

The improbable incident unfolded at the De Akkers metro station in Spijkenisse just after midnight. Photos from the scene suggest that the train, part of the Rotterdam Metro network, had been unable to stop as it reached its terminus and overran the track.

Rather than fall more than 30 feet to the ground, the train was brought to a stop by one of two whale tail sculptures at the end of the track. The driver of the train was able to escape. He visited a hospital as a precautionary measure, according to local media reports.

Authorities plan on removing his undershorts from the driver’s seat in a week or two.

Twitter finds the dog that took the commuter train to Dublin


Deidre Anglin and Patch

Irish Rail sent a “Lost dog!” tweet with a photo attachment after the Jack Russell terrier arrived with Wednesday morning commuters on a train from rural Kilcock, County Kildare, an hour’s ride away.

After more than 500 retweets in just 32 minutes, the photo found Patch’s owner, Deirdre Anglin, who tweeted the state railway: “That’s my dog!”

The episode underscored the ubiquitous use of mobile-friendly social media sites in Ireland, a tech-savvy corner of Europe where cell phones were the norm long before they were in the United States.

…After Patch waltzed on to the 6:49 a.m. commuter train in Kilcock the alarm was sounded…Rail workers on board dubbed the dog Checker, joking he might be trained to inspect people’s tickets, as commuters took turns petting the friendly dog. They turned him over to Pearse Street station staff on the train’s final stop in the heart of the capital, when it became clear the dog had no owner on board…

Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny described Twitter as offering the ideal platform for launching a nationwide appeal for the lost dog. And he said some staff at Pearse Station wished it hadn’t worked so well…”It was good she showed up so quickly, because the staff in the office were getting quite attached to him,” Kenny said.

Anglin said she was particularly pleased that Irish Rail posted Patch’s photo on Twitter and noted that the rapid retweets by other users to their own followers ensured that, soon, the alert reached her.

A happy ending to the sort of human/dog story that might have taken weeks and months to resolve before the Web.