Exactly three weeks ago, a freight train coming derailed near the town of Wetteren. I suppose I've told before that I work at a school there, and that weekend we were supposed to have a weekend full of festivities and activities for parents and students.
When we woke up that Saturday morning, the first thing we heard was the news about the accident. The freight train was transporting a dangerous fluid, but the firebrigade of Wetteren did not quite know the dangers of it and so they used water to extinguish the fire. Parts of the fluid came into this water, which went into the sewers and later on gave off dangerous gasses (to be compared with the infamous Zyklon B used by the Nazi's to extinguish the Jews).
In the course of the morning, the school's website let us know the festivities were cancelled, first for the Saturday, then for Sunday, and finally we got the news the school would be closed the entire next week. All because of the dangerous gas which was still lingering.
As from last week, most people from Wetteren could return to their homes, and our school opened its gates again. But because of the train wreck, the train from Mechelen to Ghent don't run. So we need to take a bus, and boy, what a misery that is!
In the morning (almost forty minutes earlier than I normally left) I take a bus to Wetteren, full of school children who don't always behave well. Luckily I've always managed to capture a seat, so I don't have to be pressed into the corridor between those kids. And in the afternoon, I take the bus which replaces the train. Depending on the driver, the ride can take between 35 minutes and 1 hour and a quarter... Today it was bad again, because of the rain.
I truly hope it won't take ages before the rails are repaired. (Of course, they had to move the damaged wagons first.) According to what I heard, Infrabel will start with the new rail next Monday. But still the works could take 4 weeks (I hope they're wrong!).
Lots of misery, and God knows how the accident will have influenced the future lives of all those living in its neighborhood. I take care only to drink water from a bottle I bring along. The wind carried the gas miles around, and also here in Dendermonde we see more dead insects than normal.