Today’s independent report into the pre-Christmas Eurostar debacle states that the company had “no plan” to deal with the delays and cancellations caused when their trains encountered the wrong kind of snow. Presumably this isn’t news to the 100,000 passengers caught up in the chaos and who were unable to switch to fully booked flights and ferries. The 100,000 nearly included yours truly.
We have made it policy never to holiday at peak times unless we have to - why go at the same time as everyone else? This year, we made an exception, and went off for the New Year, by train, to Bardolino on Lake Garda. It was a lot of fun, and the trains were part of the experience. Returning home, we started overnight near Montreux, leaving by train on Sunday morning and arriving home the same evening: it didn't seem possible that we had started in Switzerland, crossed a large chunk of France including the Jura, transited Paris, barrelled under the Channel, and then looped back to Sussex via St. Pancras without leaving the ground. Such is the wonder of high speed rail when it works properly.
But wondering whether Eurostar would fix their trains on time for our outbound journey made things a bit angsty before we left. Fortunately, the trains got fixed (just) and we missed the chaos. But despite having a fun time, we'd think twice about a repeat performance. As Simon Jenkins said in his Guardian piece on hypermobility, “Don’t blame the system for winter travel chaos. Stay put.”