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The scene is your typical Monday morning commute: The road to the train station was cluttered by European taxi drivers mowing over pedestraians on the wrong side of the road; in the train station, a bunch of naïve, spoilt football fans were claiming their "undeniable" right to get on any train, no matter the fee; and when on the train, your seat - as well as every other seat in the carriage - has been taken up by Polish people on their way to immigration court cases, leaving you standing up yet again.
You settle down, and as you start to approach Birmingham New Street station, you hear the driver on that flashy new intercom. He starts off normally, by saying "Hello, passengers, we are currently around 15 minutes from...". However, you then hear the sound of broken glass, and, amid many questioning Polish looks, run in to find the driver impaled on the ceiling by the overhead lights. How he got there, you cannot fathom, but what you can fathom is that for you to return home to your loving internet wife you are going to have to quickly learn to drive a train.
Step 1: Study the controls
After carefully extracting the blood of the train driver for "personal use", you will need to find out what the deuce all of these levers, pulleys, switches and buttons do. Try to ignore the urge to just randomly whack everything, especially that big red button, as you don't know what could happen – the results could be anything from moving one particle of air one micrometer to producing a paradoxical time duplicate of yourself that would like nothing better than to put you in a stew.
At this point, you'll have looked at the buttons for a while, and realise that, while the buttons do have labels on them, you would need to be a thermonuclear scientist to understand the jargon. I mean, "Deceleration of Port D hydraulic gyres"? As you don't have a thesaurus handy, you start looking for, and find, the instruction manual. Upon leering at it, however, you discover it is 568 pages long. Since you have never read five hundred and sixty eight pages of non-tabloid, serious works in your life, you decide it will be quicker and easier to be kinaesthetic and try some trial and error.
Step 2: Learn the route
After thos monumental decision, you would make what is probably the most lucid decision in your life by finding out where Birmingham New Street station actually is. However, you go about this in rather the wrong way, looking in each and every little compartment, including those on the deceased driver, to find a map, when a handy little board showing all routes is just hanging there on the side. However, since you are a self-opinionated smart-arse, you ignore it. Finally, after much painful searching, you find a cloth with "directions" on it; it looks like one goes to Liverpool, one to Alabama, one to Mars, and so on. You spend the next ten minutes (amazingly, the train still hasn't crashed!) trying to find out where you are going, and after finding the station, you spend another ten minutes trying to start directing the train. Only now do you remember that the train is on tracks, leading to you smacking your head off of the control panel as you realise you have no choice in where the train goes.
This realisation puts you into a real sense of panic-ridden hysteria, which takes you ten minutes to get over. By the time you achieve this, you realise you have already passed Birmingham International. You, however, fail to realise that Birmingham International stationis close to Birmingham New Street station, so you decide to sit down and relax for five minutes, while finding a nice magazine to take your mind off of the impending crisis.
Afetr these five minutes of relaxation, a sudden jolt awakens you, and you realise that one of the train's metal wheels has, frankly, blown the hell up. Looking back at the map, you finally find out that you are approaching your destination, and freak out as you find you have no fucking idea what you are supposed to be doing. You go over to the console, and start to plan your next move. Should you press the big red button, in the hope it will slow you down somewhat? Should you move that one lever up in case it stops the train, or will it rocket you up to five million miles per hour, crushing the bones of the people in the carriages? Or should you do nothing, and hope for a miracle to occur, or will this prove you were that spineless coward that your friends always told you were? You'd always thought driving a train was as easy as pie, that it just moved forward and stopped by itself - a primitive robot, you might say. I, the article, am ASHAMED of you. You should scold yourself for being so idiotically stupid as to think that driving a megaton behemoth would be that easy! With full knowledge of your previous idiotic rampages you still somehow manage to return mentally to the unfolding crisis.
You spend five seconds pondering all this information, completely ignoring the fact that your brain can't process more than one factoid a minute. Just five seconds. Then, with the practised intensity of the madman you are, you start hammering every single button in sight. You continue in this vein for almost a full minute before realising that nothing was happening. Further inspection reveals that the console was turned off by the driver before he died. You feel idiotic for a second, then you realise that Birmingham New Street station is fast approaching.
Step 4: Stop the train at the station
Upon this sight, you panic. Again. Goodness knows how you haven't had a fit yet. You see various aeroplanes taking off to your right, when you should ideally be helping the train to stop, but by this time you've grown into the idea that the train could run itself, not needing any user interface. Then you see the station, and straight ahead, on the platform your train is heading directly for, is another train. Horrible visions of death, destruction, prosecution and prostitution cross your mind yet again.
You play Eeny Meeny Miny Mo with each lever, finally selecting the one on the far left, and jam it as far up as possible. There is a sudden huge screech, which causes everybody in the train's immediate vicinity's Defence down greatly. The train noticeably slows down, and you pray it'll be enough. Suddenly, a brick flies through the left window, presumably thrown by some unruly youth - they all seem to have it in for you nowadays. The brick smashes the window completely and whacks you full in the face. You ignore this, somehow, and keep jamming the lever until, in a most undeserved piece of luck, the lever breaks and falls down to the bottom again.
Now extremely worried, your mind goes into complete survival mode. You decide to screw everyone else on both trains, and, with one last worrisome moment, jump out of the now open window. You recieve minor bruises, but you pretend not to notice them as you run off into the distance, never to be seen by the people of Birmingham again.
Congratulations, you can now say, unlike five billion people in the world, that you have driven a train and actually survived. Sure, hundreds of poor, mindless lambs died because of your driving, and Birmingham New Street station was severely damaged by your driving, but you're alive, and to you, that's all that matters, right? Right? Right?