Sunday, November 25, 2012

The German engineering genius

If anyone doubts that the world is going to the dogs, a couple of recent engineering disasters in Germany offer the final and definite proof. First, the opening of the new Berlin airport, initially scheduled for last June, has been pushed back several times because of concerns over its fire-control system. The current due date is October 2013. And this is only the latest of a series of high-profile construction projects to be plagued by serious snafus: a couple of train/subway stations, the new concert hall in Hamburg, the building of the German CIA…

Then, there is the problem with the German railways. Deutsche Bahn have announced that they expect another winter marred by delays and service cancellations. The reason? The 16 new high-speed trains they ordered back in 2008 from Siemens are unlikely to materialize any time soon. They were to be delivered last December – but tests uncovered mysterious software problems.

So, I have been pondering this: if the Germans can no longer do engineering or make the trains run on time, what hope is there for anyone else?