Two centimeters of snow and Europe collapses

Some places go through winter blizzards, snow storms or tornadoes and they are fine (or almost fine), while others manage to completely shut down after one centimeter of snow.  Luckily to me (and I am being ironic here), I live in the latter and thus today I experienced one of those joys when a train breaks down in the middle of nowhere because of the fresh snow. Trains seem to break down here all the time no matter where and when one goes.

I grew up believing that Europe has very advanced high-speed railroads but let me tell you, it does not.  The majority of railroads are very far from being high-speed with only a few major European cities having the fastest and best connections.  My usual 250 km rail road trip normally should not take more than 3 hours.  Even in developing countries trains go 100 km per hour and here I am connecting two Western capital cities!  I get to travel from Luxembourg to Antwerp every month and unfortunately with no good explanation why, it takes 4 hours on a train compared to only 2.5 hours if I was driving!  Isn’t the whole point of taking a train getting somewhere faster?  Perhaps I got it all wrong; perhaps it is suffering in silence but being all eco!

Snow in LuxThe fresh snow in the dim lights of the early morning was magical but the magic quickly disappeared when after one long stop it was announced that the train ahead of us broke down and we will be taking a bus. There was no local bus right away available, so we spent some time in a small town somewhere in south Belgium waiting in cold.  When finally the bus arrived, there was a long trip on highway until we finally reached the next train station where our substitute train was waiting.  I swear those stations are usually 6 minutes apart if on the train, not a whole hour!  Unfortunately the new train was no longer express (and I am laughing loudly just using this word!! :D) and we stopped at every station until we made finally to Brussels.   So overall, it took me 6 hours to complete 250 km and 7 hours considering from door to door.  Isn’t that how long it takes to fly to another continent, for instance New York which truly suffers from the winter blizzard?  They got 35 inches of snow (~90 cm) and we have 1 inch but we are highly proud of it and closing local schools, calling a day off because we Europeans take any excuse not to work…  Just kidding!

Advertisements