For the longest time, the signal did not know it had to stay in one place.
Sure enough, it was installed a little ways away from the station, and it was made to blink red and green as the stationmaster deemed fit, and it knew it had a very important role to perform.
But because it was so tall, it could see all the way to the horizon, which meant it could see the trains coming from afar.
So it didn’t see much point in staying put, waiting for the trains to come closer to the station before it blinked green or red, when it could just as easily have run down the route and guided the trains on to the right tracks.
It was such an exciting thing to do that the other signals soon followed suit.
And that is how trains making their way to the beachside ended up on mountaintops. And trains making their way to bustling cities found themselves depositing their passengers in rural countrysides.
Naturally, most people grumbled. Some did think it was all in good fun though, brilliant indeed, to set out on a journey not quite knowing where you’d end up, for isn’t that what life is all about?
But as these things go, the naysayers won, and the stationmaster decided the signals would have to be locked in place so that every journey would end at its predetermined destination, and no digressions would be tolerated.
So now all the runaway signals have locks on them, and all they can do is blink green or red as the stationmaster deems fit.
Occasionally, they take to breaking down in protest and this often messes up the trains’ schedules.
Naturally, most people grumble, but they’d rather put up with a few hours’ delay to get to where they want to go than risk the disorienting adventure of being whisked away to unknown destinations.