Train, boat or plane?

As the United Kingdom struggles and overreacts to cope with a few inches of snow, the relative resilience of land, sea and air transport has been put to the test.

On Sunday morning four Eurostar trains were cancelled and there were delays of about half-an hour on all the remaining services as the unfamiliar white stuff forced the 21st-century trains to go more slowly.
At least 300 flights from London’s Heathrow airport, more than a fifth, were cancelled as more snow fell in London. The disruption was set to continue into Monday as Heathrow’s management said it would reduce its capacity by ten percent – about 130 fewer flights.

And the ferries? Channel and North Sea ferry crossings were ‘unaffected’. In the far north, there were warnings of possible disruption to some Scottish ferry sailings off the west and north coasts of mainland Scotland, ‘due to adverse weather conditions’, but as of 10.00 hrs on Monday 21 January, no disruption has been reported.

Well, we’ve been trying to operate planes in snow and ice for about a hundred years, trains for 170 and ships for …perhaps 2,000 out of the 5,000 they have been in existence. When it snows, it clearly shows!

Chris Bellamy.


Public Seminar – The Legacy of the Thames Tideway Tunnel

The next GMI Research Seminar of the 2012/13 series will take place at 6pm on Wednesday 23rd January 2013.

‘Maximising the Legacy of the Thames Tideway Tunnel’ will be presented by Phil Stride, Head of Thames Tideway Tunnel at Thames Water.

The River Thames has become an environmental and public health hazard with untreated sewage regularly overflowing into it from London’s Victorian sewerage system. Built by Sir Joseph Bazalgette over 150 years ago, for a population of four million, this network of sewers still works today but is at capacity, unable to cope with the demands of a population that has now exceeded eight million. The Thames Tideway Tunnel will, if given approval, greatly reduce the amount of untreated sewage currently discharging into the tidal River Thames.

In addition to a cleaner, healthier river, the Thames Tideway Tunnel will secure long term benefits to the capital; providing a river fit for modern day London, whilst attracting business and tourism alike. The creation of 9,350 jobs will support local businesses and communities and create a training and skills legacy that will help inspire a new generation of engineers. In building the tunnel, new permanent public spaces along the river will add to the vitality of London.

For a map and a copy of the full seminar programme please see our website:

Location: Room 075, Queen Anne Court, University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London, SE10 9LS

Time: Tea and coffee will be available from 5.30pm, the seminar will begin at 6pm and a glass of wine will follow.

The GMI Research Seminars are open to everyone, they are free and no booking is required.