The Telegraph and Mail had a field day last week when thousands of commuters froze to death on trains across the country. I’m kidding, of course. This was the news that hundreds of commuters were forced to sleep overnight on trains in Sussex due to line failures and breakdowns. The commuters braved a night without dinner, having to wait until early in the morning when train staff went to a 24-hour supermarket to buy food. It probably wouldn’t help anyone for me to say that I would have quite enjoyed being stuck on the train. I like an adventure. Plus, think of all the Conversations on the Train I could have had in aid of this blog. Anyhow, it can’t have been fun for those with kids (I think there were some kids).
Meanwhile, the Guardian reported a similar picture from Berlin:
‘Hundreds of commuters were stranded at railway stations as conditions were deemed too severe for German trains to run. At Leipzig and Frankfurt scores of passengers had to sleep in railway carriages as hotels ran out of room after train journeys were cancelled because of snow drifts.’
In other news – No surprises here – A Chinese passenger train hit a record speed of 302 miles (486km) per hour last week. Xinhua News reported the record for unmodified commercial trains. Great promotion for the new line currently being tested between Beijing and Shanghai. They are unlikely to run the trains so fast when passengers are actually on board – but if they did, travel times between the two cities would halve , to a mere five hours.
Lastly, a 17 year-old boy was taken to hospital in the early hours of Friday after he fell from a train he was ‘surfing.’ He rode for three miles in temperatures of -6C and fell off as the train pulled into Benfleet station, Essex. He suffered head and back injuries. Paramedics were called to the scene at 4.45am by a passenger who saw the boy fall.