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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

adventures in commuting

This morning my commute was significantly longer than usual. This is because, just before we reached the safety of the platform at Union Station, the MARC train I rode from Halethorpe to DC managed to somehow plow up a section of the track. Yes. They told us that somehow the clearance on the front end wasn't high enough, and the front of the train somehow caught the lip of one of the sections of interlocking (which is this weird rubber/concrete stuff they put across sections of the track so you don't have to leap over the steel girders to cross it but can in fact drive a little golf cart across it if you are an Amtrak/MARC/VRE employee) and peeled it up out of the ground. I saw it. It was, in fact, no longer in the ground. And there was a lot of rubble, too.

So they politely requested that we all exit the train through the first car, one by one. There are six bi-level rail cars on an average MARC train, each seating at least a hundred people-- usually more, because they stand in the aisles when the seats are full like good red-blooded American commuters. So imagine, if you will, six hundred people being requested to exit the train through one door. Which fits one person at a time. And has four steep stairs and only one handrail, and is fairly difficult for the elderly/disabled/nonathletic/average person to navigate on a good day, which is why they make train platforms.

I was in the second car. I have no idea how long it took for the people at the back of the train to get off, but it took me a good half an hour. Then I had to walk the rest of the way to Union Station. That was cool.

I wish I'd had my camera with me to take a picture of the track wreckage. It was fairly dramatic. Come to think of it, though, I doubt they would have let me take one. There were an awful lot of track people around looking rather stern.

How much more exciting can a morning commute get?

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