Weather starts, railways stop

I’m not one of those who whinges that Britain grinds to a halt every time there is a bit of snow – I realise that investment in dealing with severe weather is a balance of risk and reward.  Having lived in Poland, where they have proper weather, I can see the point of spending a lot of money on being prepared there.  But here in the UK where it snows about once every 10 years, how long would it be before the Daily Mail was running banner headlines about the waste of taxpayers money of having unused snow-ploughs rusting in council depots? (or worse still from the Mail’s view-point, thousands of migrant workers standing by with shovels!) 

However (there had to be a but), rail services have ground to a halt from Coulsdon this morning at the first hint of unusual conditions.  That’s not so much a problem of the weather – it highlights the desperate state of our rail system.  Timetables are so crowded in the South East that the smallest problem derails (ha ha) the whole system.  The answer is, of course, billions of pounds of investment and possibly substantial environmental disruption as new lines are built.  Or, we could make a radical break and embrace new technology and mature working practices and encourage more people to work from home.  We could even give up our suburban gardens and move closer to where we work – if only the British could learn to love the tower block.

In the meantime, here’s a photo of my suburban garden taken this morning (I must figure out how to change the date setting). 


One response to “Weather starts, railways stop

  1. I’m actually quite a fan of the railways… especially when the train breaks down when I’m not in a hurry. All those nights swotting-up on railway company passenger charters then come in useful. For example, when a Virgin broke down with me on board just outside Coventry station in November I knew that once we’d been delayed for more than an hour I was (a) entitled to a free tea or coffee from the buffet and (b) could claim at least a quarter of my fare back. In the event the new Cross-Country franchise operators refunded my entire return fare from Winchester to Liverpool and back (over £80) as well as providing the free tea and coffee (which, at rail buffet prices, saved almost as much as the fare). I also became ‘Mr. Popular’ by walking down the carriage advising other passengers of their rights. A kind of travelling Lib. Dem. community politics advisor I guess. Must get myself sent to Coventry more often. Now I’ve got £80 of free rail travel vouchers to spend I must either (a) go somewhere nice or (b) travel to the East Midlands and canvass for Mr. Maxfield!

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