Ok – so I’m not laughing now. Well, not at the the situation the snow has put people in. My train was suspended this morning, so it was another day of working from home.
But you have to feel for the people who were stranded at Three Bridges last night. They ended up sleeping on the carriages because it was warmer than standing on the platform. Read the story here.
Today, the Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond was told to “get a grip ” on the snow situation. However, didn’t we have a similar situation last year? Ok, so this year is much worse (that’s what we said last year), so why is the country at a standstill…again? It’s not the grit this time, but, according to the AA, it’s the “lack of resilience” of the UK’s infrastructure.
AA president Edmund King said: “We might have more salt than last year but we need better planning to allow gritters through heavy traffic and blocked roads.
“Some highway authorities have invested in new gritters but again we hear that farmers offering to use tractors as snow ploughs were prevented from doing so as the insurance had not come through. This is not good enough.” Read the full story here.
We knew the snow was coming. We knew the situation from last year. So why were all the trains suspended on the Southern network? I’ve lived in Austria. Snow is the norm. I don’t ever remember any of the transport being suspended. We have been experiencing extreme forms of weather for a good few years now and 2010 has been the hottest year on record. We have to accept that this is going to happen, year in and year out and we need to, as a country, be prepared.
And come January, the cost of train tickets will be going up (above the rate of inflation I believe). I’ll save that rant for another day.
It has been claimed that the snow is costing the economy £1.2 billion a day. I’ve been thinking, how much would it cost to invest in decent snow equipment? Would the investment not counteract the loss? But then, the next question would be, where would the money come from?
And no-one has started talking about the potholes yet. They’re still patching up from last year.
To end on a positive note, here are a couple of comments I heard on BBC news today:
Journalist reporting from Grimsby on the lunchtime news as he was catching the snow: “Look at those big, meaty flakes.”
Vox pop on the local evening news – do you love or loathe the snow? Response: “I love the snow ‘cos it kills all the insects.”
By the way – I love the snow.