High Speed Views: heat

Hot person drinking water

You may have noticed that it’s wee a bit hot this week. Several million people on Twitter managed to inform each other of this fact, in one of the world’s greatest acts of mass-futility. Twitter was also angry at the apparent inability of our train system to cope with a bit of heat. This puts summer alongside autumn and winter as the third season in which entirely predictable things such as leaves or snow stop the trains running. I’m not sure what we can expect from spring to complete the set…daffodils on the line, perhaps.

My travels were pretty much unaffected, except that the high speed was running a few minutes late on Thursday, meaning I caught a train I would otherwise have missed. Fortunate, I suppose, but not when you’re hoping to write a column about how rubbish our train network is.

Of course, as ever the London underground came to the rescues, offering a truly horrific experience. If you’d taken a cow onto some parts of the tube network last week you could have been prosecuted for transporting livestock at an illegally high temperature. There’s a fairly good chance you’d have been prosecuted for a lot of other things as well. Basically, the moral of the story is don’t take a cow on the tube. If you absolutely must transport a cow across London, get a cab…or even better a Moo-ber.

All predictions show we’re in for more extreme weather, unless you’re one of the plucky band of grumpy middle aged men who think climate change is a conspiracy. There’s a possibility that the gulf stream will fail with rising sea levels, and that would mean hotter summers and colder winters.

It could get so bad that Daily Express heatwave or big freeze predictions will actually become accurate. There are of course very serious consequences from this, and one of them is that Network rail is going to have to stop building its tracks with chocolate.

We could end up with a radically different coastline within a few decades, in fact Kent could be a totally different shape an experiencing weather closer to that of Moscow than now. As we face this prospect and worse, this week has shown just how incredibly bad we are at dealing with even a minor change.

I’m not entirely sure why it is that we’re so comically unable to keep the trains going round the tracks. If there’s one thing we know about the weather in this country, is that it’s rarely the same two days in a row, and it is anything but predictable. At least that’s what everyone except the engineers who build our railways know.

It all bodes well for mw though, because more delay means I might be able to get from the bus stop to the train station without having to sprint. Every cloud, eh?


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