Newness and complexity both bring risk. You have to work out how new things will work, and what the problems might be. Complexity hampers understanding and can conceal the inter-relationship of component factors. Not understanding the risks properly may lead to failure of any new and complex venture.
In 1838, the London & Birmingham Railway introduced a new word: “timetable”, replacing “schedule of departures” that was being used by the new railway companies (the world’s first only got started in 1830).
England now has a complex rail network, where one nationalised company owns the track, and many, mostly private, train companies use it. Timetable changes are made twice a year, taking at least 40 weeks, with proposals from the separate train companies, and then many iterations and tests to get it into a workable whole.
On 20 May 2018, a radical new timetable was introduced in England to take advantage of new technology, new trains, and significant amounts of engineering improvement. The result was a mass of cancellations, and a chaos christened “Meltdown Monday”; however, chaos continued for some time after that. Northern Rail and Thameslink were worst affected owing to late engineering projects and a shortage of drivers, it was claimed.
However, an investigation by the Office of Rail & Road highlighted that delays led to the preparation time being reduced to 16 weeks, far too little time to do the job properly – a similar problem in Scotland was solved by simply delaying implementation – and that nobody had overall oversight of the exercise, and nobody considered the risks properly.
Source: The Guardian, The Independent, BBC website