Tigger had a courier run to Sheffield today. It had been on the cards for several days but wasn’t certain because of the bad weather: we were waiting to see how rail services were faring. The final decision was made last night and the document sent to us by taxi.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t go this time. EDF, in its wisdom had decided that we needed to have our electricity meter changed and today was the day for the job to be done. As usual, I was given a “window” of 7 am to 1 pm, during which the engineer would at some point call. This meant that I was stuck at home, ready to switch off the electrics, all morning.
Despite the weather, Tigger had a good run and made the drop without any problems. Rather than hang around Sheffield in the cold, she came straight back, sending me a text suggesting we meet for lunch at Carluccio’s in St Pancras station.
The doorbell eventually rang at 11:45. I directed the engineer to the meter cupboard in the basement and proceeded to switch off all electrical equipment. I sat by the window and read, keeping an eye on my desk lamp: when it came on again, I knew the work was done. A quick check performed by plugging a device into a power socket and hearing it beep, and the engineer went on his way.
I left the house at about 12:25 and waited at the stop for the 214. Tigger was due in at 1:05, so I had enough time with some to spare. Just as well, because when I reached St Pancras and made for the station entrance I was confronted by a massive queue that ran the whole length of the station. These were passengers hoping to board the disrupted Eurostar services.
I decided to go into the station by the side entrance. This takes you straight to the first floor and is therefore of no interest to Eurostar travellers.
The queue of course continued inside the station and snaked along the shopping area.
Tigger’s train arrived on time and we made our way to Carluccio’s which was also quite busy. Fortunately, they had a table for two remaining, almost as if we had reserved in advance. The service was very slow but that was understandable in the circumstances.
Seeing the queue for the Eurostar reminded me of our own experience when there was a fire in the Channel Tunnel the day before we were due to return from Paris. No one knew what to advise for the the best and we ended up booking a passage by ordinary train and ferry, only to manage to board a limited Eurostar service because we be in the Gare du Nord at the right moment. I can imagine the uncertainty and worry that these travellers must be facing.
Disruption to the Eurostar service is bad news not only for intending travellers but also for the environment. If we are to persuade public and government to curtail air travel and replace it with rail travel then we need said rail service to work impeccably. Delays and disruptions on the present scale create massive negative publicity for Eurostar and for rail travel in general. These problems therefore need sorting out and quickly.