Flooding into London

A brave bunch of hardy Cardiff  University astronomers are heading into London today for a meeting of the Royal Astronimical Society in London which celebrates the first year of science from the Herschel Space Observatory. This wouldn’t normally constitute too arduous a trip, but it turns out after the last couple of days torrential rain in Wales and the South-West of England, there is flooding on the line at Sodding Chipbury Chipping Sodbury which has sent the railway network into one of its regular episodes of chaos. Half the trains from Cardiff to London are cancelled, and the other half diverted all round the houses so they will take at least an extra half-hour to reach their destination at Paddington.

There isn’t any flooding actually in Cardiff, but the River Taff, which hibernated peacefully through the recent snowy period, has now sprung back into life and seems to be in an angry mood. I took these snaps yesterday as I walked into work, so you can see the water level is high enough to submerge some of the riverside shrubs and trees, but not high enough (yet) to threaten the embankments.

At times like this the Taff is more than a little scary, not so much because of the way it looks but because of the sound of it growling along down to Cardiff Bay, carrying the occasional car tyre and traffic cone with it.

I suppose this is small potatoes compared to the terrible floods in Australia, Brazil and elsewhere in the world, but it is quite exasperating, especially since it happens so regularly yet still catches the train companies completely unawares.

Anyway, I don’t know if the first wave of Cardiff folk managed to get to London in time for the start of the meeting. I had a couple of things to do this morning so decided to go later, even though that meant missing some of the talks that are closer to my own interests. I did think about cancelling my trip entirely, but decided in the end to give it a go. I hope I make it there at least in time for dinner at the RAS Club.

But then there’s the question of what time I’ll get  home tonight…


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4 Responses to “Flooding into London”

  1. Rhodri Evans Says:

    You may have a back garden pool by the time you get back to Pontcanna.

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    It’s not clear to me what the rail companies could do about flooding other than divert trains.

    • telescoper Says:

      I think that’s probably the case, but they should make sure they have a contingency plan and use it promptly instead of making it up as they go along each time such an event happens.

  3. [...] In the Dark A blog about the Universe, and all that surrounds it « Flooding into London [...]

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