Friday, June 13, 2008

The train dumped

Location: Just outside of New York City, Monday night. Announcement on Acela #2193, as the train stopped:

“The train dumped. We are hoping to reset the brakes and get underway.”

Pause. Noise from front end of train.

“The train dumped again. That is the noise you heard.”

It did sound familiar. Hence, I am guessing, the etymology of the term.

I figured that on a hot summer afternoon, it would be safer and faster to take the Acela from Boston to New York City. After all, you never know when a thunderstorm will develop and hold up air traffic. And then you are stuck for hours, sometimes on the tarmac, sometimes in the air. The train will take 3.5 hours and be a lot more comfortable. And cheaper!

So, we left on the stroke of 5:20pm and all went well. All supplies had been secured in South Station -- sandwich, fruit smoothie, NY Times -- added to Dreams from My Father that I had brought along (really should read it now that Obama has clinched the nomination) -- and so I’m set for a pleasant ride.

Dreams turned out to be a bit soporific, or maybe I was just a bit sleepy from staying up to see the very last second of the Sunday night 2-point Celtics victory over the Lakers, so I woke up to a lovely coastal view, including the Block Island ferry terminal somewhere along the Rhode Island/Connecticut shoreline. Finished the Monday-easiest Times crossword puzzle.

Gene Wilder took the Silver Streak saying, “I want to be bored.” There is something to that. Daydreaming as the train flew through Connecticut. Remembering the tour I had years ago of the Millstone power plants. Whizzing through Bridgeport and remembering visits to my grandmother’s store, the La Rose Specialty Shop. Women’s girdles, bras, and other intimates sold by my grandmother and other Eastern European immigrants, including one named Myrtle. Passing Darien, Cos Cob, and Port Chester. And then the train stopped. An overheated compressor.

10:52pm. Train starts up. Announcer says “We appreciate your guys patience.” Someone else on the P.A. says, “And we appreciate you!” Who was that?

Arrival in Penn Station four minutes later. About two hours late. You mean we were only four minutes from our destination! We could have walked the last segment . . . .


Anonymous said...

I will never take train travel to NYC again. Best way is to drive it yourself.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Nicely told. Thank goodness the train finally got there. Now just imagine if you were in Europe and there was a last minute cancellation due to train workers' unions striking... again...