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Tumultuous Waters

The winter of 2009 was the coldest in England had seen in the past 30 years. So when the sensitive components of the underwater Eurostar train malfunctioned in a series of trains, causing them to be stuck underneath the English Channel for more than 16 hours; post-incident reports blamed the company for failing to accommodate for the winterization of the tracks and the trains. The passengers endured several distresses, with children and women trapped undersea and many suffered from stress, panic attacks, and respiratory troubles.

When a review was conducted regarding the incident, they laid the blame on the tunnel operator and Eurostar for failing to protect the delicate components of the train as well as the tracks. Also, they stressed on the lack of communication between the control room and the driver once the train went undersea. In an emergency, it is necessary to maintain an effective line of communication for faster relief efforts and also to pacify the crowd that is victimized.

Researchers are divided about whether this was an unfortunate coincidence, or a monumental managerial failure. Although the cold weather had some role to play in the unfortunate events of December 18, 2009; there can be no ignoring the fact that the managers at Eurostar were clearly making insufficient decisions.

Discuss Questions:

  • Elaborate on the decision-making styles reflected in this case.
  • What better ways could the decision be made and how?
  • Explain the roles of policies, rules and protocols in tackling similar future incidents.
  • Discuss the lesson learned by the concerned organization here?