Saturday, January 16, 2010

Here Comes the Rain Again!

Finally, after a month of cold, sub-zero snow and icy weather - we are now back to a state of liquid water.

Whilst in the south east, the thaw really started at the beginning of the week, Wednesday caught a lot of people out. Who would have known that just 1 or 2cm of fine powdery snow would cause disproportionate chaos on the roads and rail network.

I walked down to the station at 6am, in time to catch the 6:13 to Victoria. It was still snowing, and the combination of fine powder snow and the third rail electrical pick-up system used on the Southern trains, made for a commuting disaster area.

A layer of compressed snow was building up between the pick-up shoe and the conductor live rail. When the train tries to pull off, all you get is arcing and the traction computer goes into restart. After 3 false starts and loads of intense white arcing we finally got moving at 06:45.

However, because we were the first train north out of Redhill, we had 3 trains loads of customers on board - and it was breathing room only. To make matters worse, the train was only 4 carriages.

After a very uncomfortable 45 minutes on board - I got to London Bridge, where fortunately I almost immediately caught a South Eastern Train to Charing Cross. Fortunately because of my early start, I avoided much of the ensuing chaos as rush hour approached.

By the late evening the network was running well. I got a 23:12 out of London Bridge, and a 23:30 from East Croydon back to Redhill. I had had visions that I might be sleeping on the sofa at work, if 'd failed to get home that night.

By Thursday the big thaw was on, and by Friday most of the snow melted from Monson Road. I can now actually see my garden again for the first time in 10 days.

//rant on

The Council now have absolutely no excuse left why they cannot empty my bin.

Lessons need to be learned about how to cope in this unusual weather. Councils should be mandated to store 4 weeks of salt, every year. Schools should not shut at the first sign of a few snowflakes - on health and safety grounds. What do the kids do when it's snowy? Run around in the snow, chuck snowballs and go sledging. It's a lesson in life that we just have to chill out in snowy conditions, apply some common sense and just get on with it.

I suggest we withhold our Council Tax for the period of December and January - they certainly have done nothing to deserve it. No schools, minimum road gritting and bins that have festered since mid-December.


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