The European Commission is proposing to standardise the method used to identify rolling stock and locomotives. Okay, one might think this is useful, in as much as there would no confusion regarding the country of origin of numbers for us spotters, but, where Europe has gone barking mad is the proposal to use GUIDs as the means of creating the unique numbers. A quick look at Wikipedia reveals the problem. I’ve doctored a photo of mine to show just how a train will look with the new numbering system.
My concerns are twofold. Firstly, photograph captions, such as “150240 rolls on to St. Erth.” would have to be replaced with “3F2504E0-4F89-11D3-9A0C-0305E82C3301 rolls on to St. Erth.” This is probably a point of vanity, but I don’t think it has the same ring about it.
More importantly, at a much more practical level, is the fact that spotting is made so much harder with the new GUID. Spotters with digital cameras may be able to record the numbers at a later date, but the more traditional spotter, using paper and pen or pencil, will have no chance. Only the very fastest of writers will be able to cope. It could be an end to the spotting that we all enjoy.
Please, get on to Douglas Alexander, the Minister for Transport. This has to be stopped!