15 March 2010

How I escaped from a one-way train that wasn't going to stop at my station


This evening at the station I noticed the crowd was larger than usual. That often means that the trains are running late. I took this picture of the train when it finally showed up and got on it a few minutes later. As I was moving down the aisle looking for an empty seat, I heard the conductor's announcement: "The next station is Point of Rocks".

In a span of a few microseconds a train of thoughts rushed thru my mind: Point of Rocks is the station after Germantown; This isn't my usual train, because the trains are running late; I am on one of those occasional trains that don't stop in Germantown where I get off; There is no return train at this hour; If I go to Point of Rocks it will be very, very difficult for me to get home.

After another nanosecond of indecisiveness—as if that was necessary—I turned back, scampered down the aisle and entered the space between the 2 cars. I felt the jerk of the train and thru the doors that were still open saw the platform below move. Then the conductor blocked my way—it's not safe for passengers to be there while the train is moving. To be sure, I asked, "Do you stop in Germantown?" He said, "No" and radioed the engineer while the train doors closed.

The train went a few meters and stopped. The doors opened. I jumped on the platform yelling a "Thank you" at the conductor. He yelled back, "The next train stops in Germantown".

I was lucky. Point of Rocks is 24 miles from Germantown and the trains in the opposite direction don't start running until early in the morning.


bev said...

Yes, you were lucky! When I lived in Montreal, there was a commuter train that ran out as far as the town of Rigaud. If you missed getting off before the second to last stop, you would have a very very long trip home!


Ah, I think that's the Montreal railroad along which I found Cepaea nemoralis last August.

fred schueler said...

On the other hand, the first time I visited Ottawa, I panicked and got off the bus the first time it crossed Carling Avenue, and then had to walk about 5 km to reach the museum.