Monday, January 22, 2007

A wind up

Winds gusting at nearly 100mph battered England a few days ago. The whole country was affected; predictably traffic chaos ensued. Fortunately, unlike in the “hurricane” of 1987, there was no widespread felling of trees and far less building damage. Down in sunny Ruislip, two panels from my neighbour’s fence fell into my garden and that was about it.

London Underground put on their usual good show. I did not go to work until early afternoon, following a hospital appointment. The LU web site suggested the trains were ok so I left home. No sooner was I standing on the platform at Ruislip Manor than they announced the suspension of the Metropolitan Line due to obstructions on the track. They suggested we use alternative routes. As the alternative, the Piccadilly, was not apparently operating either and is any case just as vulnerable to trees falling, I called it a day and went back home. And discovered that, yes, there were now problems on the Piccadilly as well. In fact several lines were out of action until the following morning, and a number of people in my office at Waterloo had very long and difficult journeys home that night.

High winds are going to be a fact of life as global warming takes off. The Met Office provides good forecasts of impending storms. Why oh why, he asks without in the least expecting an answer, does it always take our transport providers by surprise?

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