London has become the latest area of Britain to succumb to the big freeze. Predictably, hardly anyone was ready for it so planes, trains and automobiles have all been affected with Gatwick Airport closed, trains cancelled and the M25 gridlocked.
Last night, 100 unlucky passengers were trapped on a Southeastern train service in Kent for two hours, eventually being taken off the train at around 2am and a further three services were stranded for up to five hours. The roads were no better – motorists on the M25 spent several unhappy hours waiting for a jack-knifed lorry to be cleared at the same time as the Dartford crossing was closed while elsewhere, commuters took to more unique forms of transport. TfL, however, appear to have learned lessons from the last couple of years and are showing a fine determination to keep London moving by increasing their stockpile of salt from last year, firing up the gritters and lining up engineers and points heaters for vulnerable sections of outdoor track.
The Met Office are forecasting more snow today and have provided a helpful explanation on their website as to why it’s so cold and snowy (the obvious answer to that question being because it’s winter) yet we appear to be going through the annual performance of being surprised by cold weather in December. News coverage of the weather has been nearly second to none with live blogs and seemingly permanent headlines so there’s no chance of missing any crucial updates about the ongoing transport problems.
Still, as a commenter posting on the Guardian’s live weather coverage article points out, not everywhere outside of Britain copes as well as we like to imagine: ‘Geneva Airport has been closed since yesterday evening and looks set to remain closed for some time yet. Buses stopped running in Geneva. Trains are delayed or cancelled. Schools are closed. The difference is that certain elements of the media do not howl in glee about how inefficient the government and local authorities are. People tend to shrug their shoulders and say, ‘It’s snowing heavily, what do you expect?’ and get on with it.’ We get his drift (see what we did there?) but complaining about the weather and blaming the government for things is a national pastime. Photo by D1v1d.