You'd think a grasp of German wasn't a pre-requisite for a job on a British rail network.
But staff across the country have been ordered to learn 21 difficult phrases as much of the high-tech equipment used to spot dangerous faults on our railways is now madden Germany.
Frustrated staff have been asked to take tests on phrase like 'Verbindungsausfall' (connecting failure), and highly technical phrases including abbreviations – such as 'Kdo abgew Azgr Anford grund technisch' (reset can't be carried out due to defect) – flash up on the diagnostic testing kits.
Engineers must resit the test if they don't get more than 50% correct. But many are just cross that rail networks aren't paying to have English translations put on the equipment.
One Network Rail worker told the Mirror: 'This is cost-cutting. Sitting a German exam a week into a course is not an efficient way of acquainting staff with essential kit and procedures.'
The news comes at a time when Germany's state-owned train company is taking over a host of British rail franchises.
Deutsche Bahn recently purchased the Grand Central franchise, and there are still rows over the Thameslink fleet contract going to Siemens, at the expense of UK train building at Bombardierin Derby.
The Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said it wold be much simpler to get the equipment re-programmed with English translation, telling the Daily Mail: It is extraordinary that the German companies can't even be bothered to translate their safety instructions into English and instead UK rail workers have to take responsibility with these crash courses in O-level German.'
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