At the beginning of last week (10-11 Dec) it was still Autumn (from the astronomical point of view) but the transport systems in some parts of Europe performed as being in deep Winter.
It snowed just a few centimetres in some European cities (London, Brussels, just to mention a couple) but this was enough to paralyse transport for days.
Heathrow and Stansted airports in London cancelled tens of flights, the Brussels-London and Brussels-Paris high-speed train services were cancelled or delayed for hours.
When I left London for Brussels on the 12 Dec afternoon my train was 45-min delayed due to the ongoing chaos on the trains circulation started the day before.
What could I say? All these problems for a few cms of snow? And what if it snowed half metre as it used to happen some decades ago? Well, someone said on the train lounge in London St. Pancras that the problems with Eurostar services arose because in Brussels the station ran over of... salt! Could anyone believe it? I don't know whether it was true, but in case it was,
we are discussing complicated electronic trains controls and the main problem with some normal bad weather in this season is based on the availability of salt?
This event that, I suppose, could be likely to occur again in next couple of months (when we will be in astronomical and meteorological Winter) should make us stop and think about which direction we are taking when we talk about transport of the future.
We are too much focused on Electronics controlling anything, anyone, anywhere, booking and paying with apps using virtual wallets, investing time and money on building Connected & Automated Vehicles (CAVs), programming algorithms deciding who should be injured in case of accident when travelling with them, etc.
It looks as we forgot the simple procedures in use decades ago (e.g. spreading salt on train tracks, mounting snowchains on buses, etc.) in favour of hyper-technological solutions that are great "per se" but turn out to be useless if vehicles/carriers cannot travel properly.
Common sense is free and probably that's why we often forget to use it.
I Wish All of You and Your Families a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!!
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