Saturday, November 27, 2010

At least no pat-downs were involved.

The trip to the Turkey Dinner  was crowded but uneventful. The trip back, not so much.

My boon companion in tryptophan and I hoisted ourselves on to the southbound Amtrak train and were glad to find seats quite easily. We rolled merrily through the countryside, each of us reading in our respective spots. Afternoon became twilight became evening.  Suddenly, the lights failed! I figured it was one of those momentary glitches, but no. The train rolled on but noticeably more slowly, then VERY slowly, and then ceased to roll at all.

Yes indeed, the engine failed! Much travail. Weeping and gnashing. One man, incensed beyond decorum, wielded his voice on the cell phone like a sword. I think he might actually have called for the head of the President of Amtrak for inconveniencing him so mightily (at this point we'd been stalled about seven minutes.)

Another man called a friend and in terrified tones related we were "stuck in the middle of nowhere. Lost!" We were about sixty-five yards from the Croton stop.

Much consternation ensued. We finally get a push from an emergency engine into the Croton station. I scoop up Boon Companion, engage ejector seats (of course I travel with one; you don't?) and hurl us toward the ticket booth. We purchase tickets on the next Metro North (in this direction it would be more aptly called Metro South) train. That train leaves within seconds of us arriving on the correct platform.

The Amtrak crew sneers at us for bailing out. They assure us they will be up and running soon. We don't believe a word they say of course and get on the southbound train. Merrily rolling through the countryside resumes.

We arrive in Yonkers some thirty minutes and ten stops later. What ho!  Shivering on the platform are the passengers from the Amtrak we'd been on! The train had limped in to Yonkers and now all the passengers were being transferred to the train we'd gotten on in Croton.

Boon Companion and I smugly congratulated ourselves. We had seats, we'd not waited in the cold, and we'd not been subjected to the uncertainty of knowing if we were going to get stuck again.

The best part is I think Amtrak will actually refund the ticket price! Mr. CellPhone got his ticket refunded (he announced to all and sundry) and there were customer service people who met us at the train when we arrived at Grand Central.

And you wonder why it requires a crowbar to pry me out of this city.

However, it could have been worse!


Jude said...

As much as I love riding trains, Amtrak has cured me of the excitement of riding theirs. There was one period where it seemed every time I got on a train of theirs, there was a track fire along the way.

I've had much more luck with Limoliner.

Glad your trip was not too eventful!

Becky Mushko said...

I knew there was a good reason I don't travel much. (Plus, there's the time several decades ago when I was trapped for hours in Washington, DC, because a runway had collapsed in Albany and flights were cancelled Until they filled the hole—but that's another story.)

steeleweed said...

"...a crowbar to pry me out of this city."

Living in The Village in the '60s was a delight, but commuting to/fro was a nightmare, particularly by MetroNorth. Preferred to drive during non-peak times. Rail travel is seriously underfunded and antique. Surprised you ever got home.

Sarah W said...

I'm an Amtrak fan. Taking the train up to Chicago beats driving---and trying to find parking---and the seats are far roomier than on an airplane.

'Course, if we had Limoliner service out here, I might change my mind---Greyhound just isn't the same. At all.

adam.purple said...

A fun story. You've reminded me of the challenge of navigating around stuck subway cars--doubling back to catch an express that would blow past the stalled train. I never felt more savvy or worthy of living in NY.

Unknown said...

I was feeling pretty good ... until you reminded me my country is sinking into third-world-land. Usually, it takes the financial bloggers to do that.

Margaret Yang said...

So...Mr. Cell Phone gave himself a fit, amped up his stress levels and annoyed those around him, only to get the exact same result everyone else did? Dear dog, why do that to yourself?

It sounds like you and Boon Companion kept your heads while all around you were losing theirs.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Joelle said...

Can I just say you have an excellent way with words and can really tell a story? If you have a novel ready, I know an excellent sharky agent for you to query! Seriously, very fun piece. Still trying to figure out a reason to get you to guest blog on my site since you didn't end up at The Debs when I was there...I'm thinking, I'm thinking!

ryan field said...

This sounds only slightly better than a pat-down. They aren't fun. You think there's nothing to it...pat-pat tap-tap...until it happens and you find out just how thorough they are.

Christina Auret said...

@Kay Theodoratus: What was described in this post is very, very far removed from the third world.

If she had been stranded for the better part of two days and this was a common problem, if this type of problem (the two day delay type) was so common as to be accepted as the norm, then and only then are you allowed to complain about your country sinking into the third world.

Seriously, this is supposed to be your weekend for being thankful. You have a lot to be thankful for if an incident like this is enough of an aberration to be mentioned in a blog post.

I live in the third world, but I am lucky enough not to have to use a public form of transportation. The problems I described do not affect me. Trust me when I say that I am very thankful for that. I got a lucky ticket at birth, if you live in the USA, so did you.

laughingwolf said...

now you know why i prefer to drive, at least the first 500 or so miles!