Monday, June 9, 2008

Derangement d'installations

Blogging now from the free wifi in the Marseille train station. The super high-speed TGV trains have been "perturbed" by "violents orages" (violent thunderstorms), which one assumes must futz with the sensitive machines and the fancy rails they run on. A number of trains have been delayed. What one forgets about European train stations is that people usually don't spend much time in them. You stand on the platform 10 minutes before the train arrives, everyone gets on, and it goes a couple of minutes later. So you don't get a very good sense of the throughput of a station like Marseille-St. Charles (the main Marseille station) until things get backed up and there are hundreds if not thousands of people just standing around, with their luggage.

Fortunately there is a football game on and people are crowding around the few sets in the station, which are all tuned to the game. A minute ago there was wild cheering across the enormous nineteenth-century train shed. You'd think they'd announced that the scheduling snarls had been untangled, but no - the home team seems to have won the game.

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