Friday November 9, 2007

Transit Travails

Sometimes I have to forcibly remind myself why I take the train to my Job. I know it's better for the environment and better for my car. I know it reduces my average levels of stress and frustration. I know that I would have traffic every afternoon if I drove. I know that, many times, the train is convenient, on schedule, and relatively comfortable.

But every so often, about once every month or two, something goes wrong. And when something goes wrong, it's usually a real whopper.

Yesterday, my train was delayed due to mechanical problems. The worst of it is, my train wasn't the one with the problems. The train with the problems was in front of us. We were behind it ... and blocked.

Someone in charge decided, after about 15 minutes of sitting, that our train would move forward, connect with the engine of the disabled train, and push that train into the next station where we could then go around. They tried that and
All the lights went out.

We spent the next hour-plus sitting on the train, somewhere between stations, both literally and figuratively in the dark. The power was off; we couldn't get out; we had no information. Meanwhile, later trains were passing us on our left, heading north. SIGH.

Apparently, when the power goes down, the intercom goes down. And no CalTrain personnel thought to walk the train and make an announcement in each car. So we sat. And we waited. And we waited. In the dark.

A guy in the other half of my car had some sort of radio that was tuning in to communication in the cab. He was better informed than anyone else. He knew that someone was driving up from San Jose. He knew they were trying to get the train back online.

None of us could understand why no one "in authority" ever came through to tell us what was going on. It's only a 5-car train.

Finally, the lights came on, the intercom came on, and a voice said "we apologize for the delay." It took another 5 or 10 minutes before we started moving and we finally pulled into the next station and I got off.

By this time, I had reached Rich by phone. Rich had taken a different train and reached our destination station. He then got in the car and drove back down the Peninsula to meet me.

I left the station and walked two blocks to a favorite restaurant where I ordered. Rich arrived a few minutes before the food. We had a relaxing dinner, then drove home. An evening salvaged, at the expense of a few hours trapped on transit.

Transit Travails ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Fri, 09 Nov, 20:20 Pacific | «e»

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