Saturday, December 18, 2010

Got paid my shift but did not take a coach out of the depot.

I left home early this morning to ensure that I reported for work at Treforest on time. It was heavy snow and very little traffic when I left home at 05.45 not knowing what I would face when I got to our depot. The car park was very thick with snow with plenty of spaces to choose from. I marched into the workshop and was greeted by my line manager and the driver for the first duty whose report time was 06.10 - 15 minutes before my allocated duty. I was told that no coaches would be leaving the depot for a while and to simply stand-by. I and the other drivers had simple tasks to do like sweeping snow around the depot and the car park, plus picking up litter from the coaches as all the cleaners ran away last night.

I had the really short shift that finishes at 11.00 although you gain 7 hours pay but do not get a rest break. My line manager and the nationwide company decided to suspend the 07.15 service from Aberdare and the 09.45 from Swansea due to the snow and the resulting travel chaos. Alan left our depot in his coach to go to Bradford but his instructions were to go direct to Worcester. This would avoid all the snow bound roads to Aberdare and then the many valley towns across the heads of the valleys road (A465), Abergavenny, Hereford, Ledbury and the Malverns.

All the drivers who managed to get to Treforest stood around chatting and waited for further instructions from management. It was then decided that the first service to operate from our depot to London from Cardiff would depart at 11.00 - this is the coach I would normally have brought in from Swansea. At 10.30 I was told to go home and I found the roads around Treforest Industrial Estate very icy indeed. Still not bad, 7 hours pay and I had not driven a coach on the public road.

When I got home I took our dog for a walk through the thick snow. Barney loved running through the snow and having a good sniff around. Then Barney started digging with his nose but I could see nothing through the thick snow. Then up it came, Barney's prize. Someone had discarded a doner kebab on the pavement and the snow had completely covered all traces of it. Barney found it and he wolfed it down, with that look in his eyes that says "this is mine, buy your own!"

Tomorrow I am on the early Bradford shift and I expect I will be following Alan by running empty as far as Worcester along the M4, M50 and M5. I think it will be a few days before all this snow thaws in south Wales and the roads get back to normal. The nice thing is that drivers do not get laid off, if they report for work they get paid.
Comments:
Hi Steve

They seem to cope better with snow in North Wales, but then again they get more of it and so more prepared.

I've just returned from a weekend in Snowdonia and the main A5 was "largely" clear. The only tricky bit was on Friday night decending into Betws-y-coed when the snow started falling, all of Saturday and Sunday it was constantly sweeped by snow ploughs and presented no problems. Farmers were beginning to clear side roads.

My Volvo did get buried in a snow drift from the overnight fall but once I had cleared the ground from in front the driving wheels and a way into the door I just drove the thing out, cant see you doing that in a BMW. Made me laugh when my sister wouldn't drive her car off the drive with only 1cm of snow,

Happy Christmas

John
 
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