Archive for the ‘Snow’ Category


Monday, 6 February 2012

Building a snow wall to prevent drifting circa 1930 near Tarnopol. Officials from the Ministry of Communications and PKP pose for the camera. Photo NAC collection.

(Click image to see the original – which may be enlarged – on the National Digital Archive.)

A flurry of snow hits the UK the UK on Saturday evening and suddenly Poland is seen in an entirely different light! After last winter’s Heathrow chaos FGP TopCo Limited (operating in the Britain as BAA Ltd.) promised more snowploughs, more gritters, more everything. Yet after Saturday’s snowstorm, which lasted only a few hours, the worst delayed plane (due to depart shortly after 21:00hrs) actually got into the air around 05:30hrs on Sunday morning. On Sunday, Heathrow enjoyed temperatures well above freezing, there was no frost, yet BAA cancelled 50% of the flights due in and out of the airport.

Inaugural run on the Kasprowy Wierch cable car railway in 1936. Photo NAC collection.

(Click image to see the original on the National Digital Archive.)

Snow ploughing on the Bieszczady Railway circa 1941. Photo NAC collection.

(Click image to see the original on the National Digital Archive.)

Coping with snow is one thing that Poles have become rather good at as these photographs from Poland’s Narodowy Archiwum Cyfrowy (National Digital Archive testify.) Last year’s chaos on Polish railways was one dreadful exception, but this year PKP has coped admirably. The Archive was set up by the Minister of Culture in 2008, and has digitised some 150,000 photographs and 20,000 sound recordings.

Snow slows Britain

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


‘A skeletal service will run due to adverse weather. Passengers are advised not to travel.’ Train indicator at Mortlake Station. Photo BBC on-line News.

(Click on picture to see original on BBC ‘Winter weather slide show’.)

A fall of some four inches of snow caused chaos in South Eastern England on Monday. 1 in 5 people failed to get to work. All London buses were cancelled in the morning. Trains and tubes were cancelled. Schools were closed. Two Eurostar trains became trapped in the Channel Tunnel. Today South East Britain slowly got its act together, but new snow storms spread the chaos to Wales and the South West.

It wasn’t always like this. I remember the great winter of 1962-63 travelling as a young schoolboy alone by train from Paddington to Leamington Spa. It was really cold and as we crossed the GW&GCJR viaduct at Denham I could see icebound narrowboats trapped on the Grand Union. But the trains and Underground ran almost normally. Nobody dreamt of saying ‘Passengers are advised not to travel’. My parents were quite confident that I would arrive on time at my destination. Britain was a different country in those days and the railways were run by railwaymen and not ‘managers’.

Rail pundit Christiam Wolmar picked up the same theme in his blogWhat is missing is the old ‘the show must go on’ Windmill spirit. The spinelessness is reflected elsewhere, too: Camden’s parks are all closed for safety reasons and the government building where my daughter works was threatened with closure because not enough security staff had got through the snow.