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1 March, 2005

Ghost campus

It's really, really quiet at work this morning.  Few of the rooms on my corridor seem to be occupied, there's no traffic on the road outside the window, and the background noise of the M6 is also absent.

As the current lead story on the BBC News home page's 'ticker tape' header explains, two lorries (one northbound, one southbound) have crashed on the M6, closing the motorway.  Five people have been hospitalised, three due to spilled formaldehyde (they'll keep) and all traffic has been diverted onto the A6 i.e. through the city, which has become gridlocked.  There are roadworks on the A6 anyway, which is hardly helping.

I didn't notice a thing when I cycled in along the lesser, local roads, apart from a slightly greater number of pedestrians, but I soon realised that was because the buses weren't running. It seems that those who were going to walk to work arrived about half an hour ago, and at the time of writing, colleagues living south of Lancaster (but locally) are just arriving, two hours late.

The University was built right by the motorway, and since my first visit in 1989, I've been aware of the unobtrusive background noise of passing traffic. It's suddenly stopped.
"The silence is deafening" – well, clichés can be true.

[Update 11:20: colleagues travelling south from Kendal (20 miles away) have rung in from their cars, stranded between motorway junctions three hours after leaving home.]

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