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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Snow

I hope Mark Kehoe doesn't mind me using this photo
from last night in Whitehall
This is a tribute to the many hundreds of our people who have worked day and night this weekend to keep London moving.

From the news you might have thought there had been a major catastrophe and some significant neglect.

So, for the record, we knew the snow was coming from the excellent weather forecasts we get and we were prepared. This includes extensive stocks of grit for the roads and teams ready to spread it. We are working closely with our colleagues in TfL and at the Highways Agency, National Rail, BAA and so on.

So before the snow arrived gritting was underway and this includes bus routes and access to garages. It did come down in London quite quickly but in general we kept services moving. Towards the end of the night some suburban roads became impassable - not just due to snow but due to abandoned or accident-damaged vehicles.

On the Underground the outer ends of the Central and Jubilee lines became blocked but even at midnight 91% of the service was running. Bus and rail staff kept going to the end of service. During the night de-icing trains ran and the night bus network operated broadly as usual. Again some outer London issues meant there were some diversions and curtailments.

Gritting was repeated during the night. But the issue here is that grit needs to be moved about to be effective and on Sunday mornings traffic is very light. As a result it took a while for its melting properties to take effect. Nevertheless at 0630 all of London's major roads were open as were most of the other roads in Central London and the suburbs.

As London Underground opened up its service there were again some troubles in the more exposed areas but all services came on stream well, as did the Docklands Light Railway after technical hitch at the start.

As I said on BBC Radio and LBC today London was 'open for business' and whether you were travelling on buses, trains, or in your car provided you gave yourself a little more time you could carry on as normal today.

During the day most of the snow turned to slush and so in case temperatures fell below freezing and turned to black ice the gritters were back out late afternoon and during Sunday night.

The media did its best to portray this as poorly planned. In fact the effects were minimised by the great work by hundreds of people. The bus drivers, train operators, station staff, gritting gangs and back office people who worked throughout to keep things going, keep them open and get the message out to London.

The media might have looked everywhere for someone to blame but without any luck. All our people did an outstanding job and that includes those who work for our extended family of contractors of course.

Thank you all for everything you did and as a result we are looking forward to as near normal Monday morning peak hour as we could have hoped for.



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4 comments:

  1. I would like to tell you that you have given me much knowledge about it. Thanks for everything. Keep Blogging!

    - Jackie of web design

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  2. Leon,that photo is surely destined to become an iconic image of Both London itself,and,if yet another was needed,the Routemaster. Well done Mark Kehoe !

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  3. Thanks Mark! And appreciate the photo!

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  4. As someone very much involved with the gritting of roads in London, well done Leon for explaining some of the facts so well.

    So many members of the public seem to think that "grit" is the magic cure that stops snow settling or ice forming. Because a lot of the gritting done by TfL and the London Boroughs is done at night, when people are at home, tucked up in the warm behind their curtains, they don't see the hard work the gritting teams do, often night after night.

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