England thanks you for every piece of technology, tv program and benefit you invent and give us without us having to pay the costs.
...such as Automatic Train Brakes, game shows, knuckle couplers, black boxes, computers, advanced jet engines, space satelites, super strong telescopes and nuclear warheads. Oh, and saturated fats and junk food galore.
Y'all invented the train! Was this really a problem?
You see, most early British trains relied on Steam Brakes, meaning that a OVERFORCE (i.e. going ABOVE the normal air pressure) was needed to activate the brakes. So if the brake pipes became damaged, even by a little bit, only handbrakes worked. And those weren't too good either. IF they were fitted.
Automatic (also known as Vacuum) brakes relied on a UNDERFORCE (i.e. going below the normal air pressure) to keep the brakes OFF. So if the pipe was damaged, the brakes came on, and a disaster was avoided, and the defective unit had to be removed or repaired there and then to fix the issue.