Blog: Dave LeggettBritish Snail

Dave Leggett | 5 August 2003

As you might have heard it's a bit warmish in Britain this week and there's a chance the mercury could beat the all-time record of 37.1 degrees C. on Wednesday. Did Mr Leggett choose the right week for his holiday, or not? So how's British Rail coping, that bastion of efficiency and comfort to which we are all supposed to turn when we are finally taxed, congestion charged and speed camera fined out of our cars?

As usual, it's not. To the litany of pathetic exuses such as "leaves on the line" or "wrong type of snow" used to explain why British Rail, he no go, we can add "it's too hot". Worried that rails might bend in the heat, services are being slowed and/or cancelled and overheated passengers regularly turfed off their lovely, airy, non-air conditioned trains.

If the Indians and Australians can cope with hot rails, how come we can't? Apparently the rails can be pre-stretched so far but not too much or they'll be too brittle in winter's cold. Amazing, isn't it, how the country that actually invented full-size train sets can no longer make them work? Meanwhile, everyone else's railways seem to work just fine, most of the time, rain, shine, hot or cold.

Bet you can't wait to ditch your car and let the train take the strain.
Graeme Roberts


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