Sunday, 20 December 2009

The Tunnel Story

If you live in the UK, there are only three ways to get down to the continent....by plane, by ferry, and by the Chunnel. This Chunnel experience is a unique episode. You drive onboard a special train (yes, your car can go)....step into a cabin at the front of this coach....and then settle back for a 45-minute trip under the English Channel. Cost is relative.....lesser in the evening hours of course.

Two days ago....a unusual event occurred aboard a couple of Chunnel trains. Because of the drastic and cold conditions outside, and a very warm condition in the middle of the Chunnel.....the trains basically stopped. They haven't fully explained this scientific reasoning....but nothing moved. In fact, all power stopped.

So imagine yourself....sitting on a train....no power, no AC (it is warm), no water other than what you brought in your little bag or what might be in the car, and no food. Adding to this misery.....the guys who run this business....don't really have a "rescue" plan for this type of episode. Remember, if these conditions stopped the regular train....any other train you send....will have the same problem.

Here are a couple of thousand folks, stranded in these trains. The majority probably thought it would be an hour or two to get rescued. So after two hours....folks are getting antsy....hungry.....and thirsty.

I was in Frankfurt once....on a subway car....deep under the city....when it stopped. It was July and while the tunnel was probably 75 degrees.....the car itself was a 90 degree situation. Around the ten minute point, you could see the aggravation on people's faces. After twenty minutes....this was becoming uncomfortable, and I started to feel thirsty. By the forty minute point.....people were calling folks on the cellphone and trying to get some attention to the stopped vehicle. Other than a brief announcement by the conductor every ten minutes of a stalled train ahead of us....nothing else. It was sixty minutes before we finally cranked up and proceeded. I stepped out at the next stop and gulped down a Coke in thirty seconds flat.

I could understand the feelings on this train.

At the two hour point.....I probably would have stood up and jammed open the doors.....and then started to walk. It wouldn't matter what direction you go....it would have been at least four hours before you got to one end or the other.

I watched the video of folks who were finally brought out of the Chunnel. They were mostly British, and furious. Some women were highly emotional and probably will never ride the Chunnel ever again. The Chunnel management was sorry, and offering to help settle everyone up.

The morale of this story? You should always carry a case or two of Pabst Blue Ribbon in the car when traveling the Chunnel.....and thirty pounds of beef jerky.....just in case something happens. And if you wanted to score with the British gals.....have a bottle or two of whiskey around to offer up to the ladies.

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