All weekend, the UK news was on Stormageddon overdrive but Aarhus and Fredericia had seasonally appropriate weather and there wasn’t much in the Danish news apart from “big storm headed for the UK.”
I got to leave work a bit early and my boyfriend rang me while I was on the train to warn me that the storm had got a lot worse. I said everything was fine and to expect me in half an hour.
Fifteen minutes later, the train stopped and then reversed back into Hedensted. The train driver got on the PA to say that the storm was too strong in the south and they had no idea what next. He got on the PA to say that a lot but sometimes with ‘I am getting more information in an hour’. The conductor moved down the train talking to people and was quite entertaining and nice. He got on the PA to offer everyone a coffee and remind them about the travel time guarantee money back scheme. (In the UK, a train I was on got stuck for three hours and the conductor basically hid from us and it was up to seasoned commuters to tell everyone which form to collect and that they were allowed a coffee). He also asked if there was anyone who had major problems because of the delay “for example, you need to pick up a child from daycare” and no one lied. We just shook our heads.
I was sitting at a table with three other women. Two were travelling together to a beautician course in Vejle (7 minutes away from us by train). We all started joking together and being very friendly. Mostly what we joked about was Hedensted. The conductor came over and joked some more about Hedensted.
‘Hedensted. Hardly the centre of the world(!)’
My boyfriend initially offered to pick me up and I said not to bother because I was sure the train company would sort us out. Then he rang me back to say he wasn’t going to drive because massive tree branches and roof tiles were flying around Fredericia.
Then our carriage started to rock. It was pretty wild. I have seen wind but never going in a big circle outside the window and hardly ever with streetlights waving back and forth.
We just chilled in the train, getting periodic announcements that we were stuck and that was going to continue for a while.
Then they talked about going back to Horsens and my boyfriend re-offered to pick me up because the storm had died down in Fredericia.
So, two hours after I said I would be back in half an hour, I got off the train so I didn’t accidentally end up in Horsens or worse. I waited in the bus stop which was less fun than you would think. A full bus heading to Vejle came by and picked up some of the people from my train. Then my boyfriend picked me up and we drove on roads littered with branches but full of traffic.
I read later that when the storm died down, they laid on buses and people were given emergency shelter in different towns (including mine), which answered my question ‘what if he had been in Afghanistan?’
There were even some unfortunate people who had to spend the night in the carriages apparently and several trains had to just park on the tracks overnight while they cleaned and repaired the tracks.
I got off lucky by only having a four to five hour commute home. If I had left at the usual time, I would have had to have slept in an emergency shelter overnight because trains weren’t running south of Aarhus anymore.
In the morning, I got up at 5am (as is my wont) and left the house at 5.50am. My usual train was running more than half an hour late before it even arrived so I got the slow train. This meant I was around 15 minutes late to work (8.25am), which was incredible considering. As we drove past Hedensted, my old train was still on the tracks. Dark and empty.
On the way home at 5pm, the trains were still pretty badly disrupted. My train was a bit delayed but others were cancelled.
I am pretty wiped out now, it’s been a long couple of days.