I’ve done a couple of interviews on transport chaos caused by the freezing conditions and taken the line that as a country we have chosen not to invest massively in the equipment needed to deal with such events.
However, it may well be that climate change means we will have more of them than in the past and that we will have to make those investments. I know it is not a long enough sample, but two bouts of exceptional weather within a calendar year may suggest that things are changing, though as I said on the radio, we may now well get five years of mild winters.
A couple of listeners, though, have made good points about the information given out in these circumstances. There really does seem to be a reluctance to use those very same PA systems that blurt out all the ‘take all your personal belongings’ and ‘if tell us if you see Mr Bin Laden’ nonsense when it comes to providing information about what is happening in the event of a delay or breakdown. I was stuck at Stansted airport last week because of a track circuit failure in the tunnel and it was a good half hour before the driver came on the blower and even then the announcements were intermittent and given reluctantly.
So while I am reluctant to suggest that billions needs to be spent to deal with exceptional weather, there is no doubt that information could be better. I get plenty of rather smug press releases from dear old ATOC about how they are running extra trains, but it seems people on the ground are not keeping the dear old public informed. I’d be interested in people’s experiences.