No Surprise

Tuesday night I was waffling about whether I should go in to work Wednesday or work from home. The weather forecast was bad, and I had brought work home with me, just in case.

Wednesday morning everything seemed fine. The bad forecast remained, freezing rain, but it hadn’t started. I figured I was go to head downtown.

Then my daughter reminded me. The O-train doesn’t run in freezing rain.

Well, it does, just not for long. I thought about the hassle of getting home with a broken transit system, and decided I might as well work on teh materials I had at hand. It wasn’t even raining, let alone freezing rain, by the time I sat at my desk. I felt a little foolish – we Canadians aren’t supposed to let weather affect us.

The rain started shortly afterward. Freezing rain mixed with ice pellets. As predicted, the train died shortly afterward. Some people were stuck for an hour waiting for workers to cut through a fence so they could be safely evacuated from a stuck train.

Freezing rain in Canada comes as no surprise. Ottawa has half a dozen storms each year that feature the stuff.

The surprise comes when, four years after it went into service, Ottawa’s transit experts can’t get their two-billion dollar red and white elephant to venture out when there is freezing rain. Did they conduct no tests before putting the vehicles into service? I guess not.

Maybe it isn’t a surprise after all. People are getting used to it – and just avoiding teh train if at all possible, in all weather. Which doesn’t bode well for ridership when the three-billion dollar extension opens.


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