THE A66 between County Durham and Cumbria re-opened to traffic today (Tuesday, January 22) – but one truck driver was going nowhere.
Michal Chalubiec has been stuck at Stainmore for three days since a broken axle on his trailer forced him to pull over into a lay-by just as the snow set in.
He has been forced to wait at his truck for a spare part to arrive from Germany before getting back on the road.
Mr Chalubiec, from the Polish city of Reda, was taking a consignment of bottles from Holtzminden, in Germany, to Bathgate, in Scotland.
“The trailer is German and not typical of those in the UK which is why I have had to wait for the spare part,” he explained.
But despite poor weather and heavy snow, Mr Chalubiec said the worst part of his ordeal was dealing with boredom.
“The weather is not a problem – I am used to the snow and when I was at home for Christmas in Reda, it was -28C. Normally at this time of year it is -15C,” he said.
His cab has a heater and he has plenty of food and drink. He has kept in touch with work and his girlfriend at home via a mobile phone and watched movies on his Netbook.
However, he has been given a helping hand by officers from the Durham Road Policing Unit (RPU), who took the 26-year-old to Barnard Castle Police Station to have a shower and freshen up – before giving him a tour of the town, including a trip to Bowes Museum.
Michal said he was delighted with the hospitality he had received both on this trip on others to the UK.
“If I ever have a problem when I come to the UK – for example, if I can't find my way somewhere – people are always happy to help me.
“This only happens in the UK – not on the continent,” he said.
Repairs were due to be carried out to his trailer tomorrow (Wednesday) and Mr Chalubiec was confident he would be underway again by the afternoon.
After completing his journey, he is returning home and will enjoy two weeks off.