A few stories coming out of the UK this weekend that don’t bode well for travel there in general.
First up there is the report that the new T5 at Heathrow will require all passengers, including those travelling on domestic itineraries, to be fingerprinted and subject themselves to other biometric scans as part of their travels. This is a new low, even for the nation known to be the most overwhelming in terms of surveillance. Adding this to earlier reports that T5 won’t have power outlets for passengers and the whole experience would seem to be less than pleasant. Apparently T1 will also have similar requirements, and it is expected to spread to other airports in the UK eventually. At least there is not a fingerprint requirement for travel via the trains to the continent. Yet. While some are blaming this on anti-terror issues, it seems to be more like an immigration issue, as T5 will have international flights as well. Still, fingerprinting for domestic travel seems very Orwellian/Stalin-esque.
If you’re looking for more good news about travel in the UK, regional train travel on Easter weekend just might be your cup of tea. Approximately 6000 workers will be replacing 29km of track over the holiday weekend. This will result in a number of routes being shut down for the weekend, with buses replacing trains. The real concern amongst most in the UK is that the work actually gets completed on schedule and that the tracks are ready to operate for the regular commuter trains that will be running the following week. The last time they tried a massive effort like this the result was a four day overrun on the construction, which resulted in a lot of unhappy passengers and a GBP14 million fine. Fortunately I won’t be on the trains until September, so there is plenty of time for me.
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