Letter: Snow on the line

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Last week I took the evening express from Le Havre to Paris. It left on time and there were seats in clean, well-appointed carriages for everyone.

Soon out of Le Havre, the snowstorm started, the fall getting progressively heavier. Some 30km from Paris the train came to a halt and was held up by points failure for about 35 minutes. Every five minutes or so apologies and explanations of the cause and likely duration of the delay were broadcast. Attendants came around with mobile phones for passengers to contact waiting friends or relatives. Forward arrangements were made for people with connections, who were also met and assisted on arrival. Passengers were handed compensation claim forms and stamped addressed envelopes upon disembarkation.

Congratulations to the SNCF; commiserations to the suffering British public.

ROGER HILL

Winchester

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