Monday, February 22, 2010

Finland doesn't work (4)

Helsinki train station amongst the snow drifts this morning

The Finnish rail company, VR, is having a miserable time at the moment trying to keep services running through the snow. In Helsingin Sanomat today Antti Jaatinen, the head of passenger traffic at VR, points out very fairly that in Southern Finland we haven't had a thaw since 29th December. Mr. Jaatinen makes a good case for how hard they are trying to keep things rolling but I felt that his explanation:
"The situation would improve immediately, if we could have at least one day of warmer weather that would thaw some snow. Next frosty day would then make an icy cover on the snow, and the winds could no longer blow snow into rail switches."
is just getting a touch to close to the classic British excuse of "the wrong type of snow". Come next autumn should we expect problems from "leaves on the line"? :-)

And, just for my dear Finnish friends and readers, whilst we're re-visiting the subject of Finland not being as good at winter as Brits tends to presume (and Britain not being so bad), let me just say congratulations Amy Williams,

and commiserations to the Finnish Lions... ;)


Dave Hanlon said...

Strangly reasuring this. Call it scahdenfruede if you like but it's good to read of wintery ineptitude in Scandinavia. My experience until now hs only confirmed the stereotypes: Finns getting on with life in the -20s, speeding along snow covered roads with their knobbly tyes, technique perfected by years of weekend rally driving. Meanwhile British cities grind to a halt, cars abandoned in mid commute, mass sleep outs in village halles, all in 2cm of wet porridge that the fins probably don't even call snow.

Anonymous said...

While I take your point, freezing points indeed, it should be pointed out that this is the longest period of below-zero temperatures in Helsinki for 80 years. And having travelled from Finland back to the UK today, I have to say that the 35 minute bus journey to a well-maintained Vantaa Airport compared to the three hour slog from Heathrow back home on cold and crowded public transport, stuck in interminable jams ... I think Finland still has some way to go on the general crapness stakes.

And if they put winging in the Olympics...

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

:-) I'll see your 3 hours and raise you my colleagues 5 hrs that it took her to get to work and back on Monday (normally 1 hr each way).

Where did you see 80 years? Hesari says since 1970 today and I was shovelling snow with my neighbour last night and he said in the 60s when he was young "it was like this every winter!" which I thought was rather sweet. Just spent 2.5 hrs shovelling snow off my roof.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Toby, it seems like I was passing on false or misheard information. As you say, there have been worse winters as recently as the 80's (see

But I should point out that my three hour journey was during normal weather conditions. And, I'd swap London's permeating dampness for minus ten and snow any day!