Site ColumnsBy Christian
November 18, 2000 - 4:02 PM
Winter is now really approaching - yesterday I had the first train of the season break down, always a good sign that it's getting colder. For some reason, the Dutch Railways seem particularly ill-prepared for any season besides Spring: in Summer, trains are delayed if 'extreme weather circumstances' cause the tracks to expand by half a millimeter or so, in Autumn, leaves on the track are always nearly impassable obstacles, and in Winter even a bit of snow guarantees delays of at least an hour. Never mind that in Norway and Russia and other such places they seem to be able to operate their trains pretty much all year long, here in Holland all bets are off if there's more than a couple of centimeters snow.
Yesterday there wasn't even that, but it was raining quite heavily, while there also was some lightning. I suppose the train must have been hit as well, as I'm sure it was haunted. In the first place, it took ten minutes before we could even get in, as the doors refused to open and mechanics were running around to try and open them. When they did, it was at the expense of all the lights in the train. Just when everyone sat down, the lights went on again, together with the air ventilation system (just the thing you need when it's already freezing, incidentally) - but only for 5 seconds, after which it went out again for a minute, came on, went out again, etc. Eventually they announced this train wouldn't depart anymore and we had to take the next one, but of course they didn't bother to inform any of the people actually sitting in the train. In my compartment, most people heard the announcement through the station speakers, but in other parts of the train (where they did have normal light but no open doors) I think everyone was still there when the next train finally left. I just love all the benefits our new privatised railway system gives us.
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