Nor’easter 2007: I Take Back All the Nice Things I Said About Metro North

Yesterday, it was snow, sleet, freezing rain and locusts falling from the sky (“I’m shoveling Margaritas,” one Brooklyn maintenance man told the Times), and the train was all of two minutes late.

Today, it was sunny and clear, though butt-cold. And what hell awaited me on the 8:17. The train pulled up at 8:21 — not unexpected on the heels of a Nor-easter. We were going slow past White Plains and Scarsdale, and probably on course to be a bit late.

But that was OK. I had a two-seater to myself. I had the papers, the iPod and the new BlackBerry.

Then we slowed to a trickle somewhere between Fleetwood and Mount Vernon West. Then, at 8:52 — when we’re usually pulling into 125th — we slowed to a dead stop.

“We’ve got a switch failure,” said the conductor. “There are a couple trains ahead of us, then they’ll let us go. Should be 5-10 minutes.”

People called work. People shuffled. Other trains flew by. Why hadn’t their switch failed?

The conductor came on four minutes later. “They’re on the scene, working on the switch failure,” he said. “We’ll keep you posted.”

I got a little nervous. I hadn’t realized there were fix-it guys involved. I had no water. I had no food since I’d eaten my “emergency” granola bar a month ago and never replaced it. I was done with the Times (though saving Sports for lunch…spring training!) and half done with the Journal. I should’ve saved the Money section, instead of throwing it out. Why hadn’t I packed an emergency book?

At the stroke of 9, the man came back on. “The switch failure has been…uh…solved,” he said. We started moving.

It was a crawl the rest of the way, along with another dead stop under the 153rd Street sign in the Bronx, when I actually thought of busting through a window and walking.

We got in at 9:41. That’s 36 minutes late; even by Metro North’s generous “on time” standards, that’s just plain late.  

Dreadful commute? Let us know: trainjotting@gmail.com.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in 125th Street, Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, Scarsdale. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Nor’easter 2007: I Take Back All the Nice Things I Said About Metro North

  1. ftantillo says:

    One thing about going slowly through the Bronx: The low speeds allow you to get a good close look at the trackside trash you usually speed past.

    You would not believe the volume, diversity and size of stuff that Bronx residents lug down to the tracks for disposal.

    It’s not exactly pleasant, but it is fascinating.

  2. Straphanger Joe says:

    I flew from Lansing, Michigan, to Detroit at 5pm on the 13th in the middle of the snowstorm that was on it’s way towards us. Our plane sat on the runway an hour while they checked computer diagnostics and de-iced, and took off into the wide wild white at 6:15pm.

    “Lansing,” as folks who lived there say, “is not the kind of place you run towards. Most folks run away from it.”

    I sat, gratefully, at Detroit Metro from 7:30pm to 9:28pm when, with swirling white gusting into drifts outside the giant glass windows, the Northwest plane pulled up into our gate. An hour later we were aboard and an hour later we were still waiting to leave the gate. A man wearing a vest with a large orange X on it raised his hand at the front of the plane to get our attention and talked into the microphone.

    “We’ve got a computer problem on the wings that really isn’t that big a deal but needs to be checked out and cleared before we can take off. We’re sorry about the delay. Actually it’s a problem this plane has had before and we’ve flown without it being on. Only, in this weather, there are regulations that prohibit it. If we can’t get it going we’ll transfer to another plane, but I don’t think it’ll be a problem so … we’ll let you know when we’re through.”

    I looked out my snow-covered porthole. The hold door was opening as the man in the vest hung up the mike. Two men wrapped from head to toe in gore-tex stepped out of a luggage trailer that had pulled up while he’d been talking. At 11:30pm we got off the plane and walked to another gate in a deserted aiport.

    “We’re sorry folks but all the food vendors are closed down for the night,” the attendant said as we left the plane.

    By midnight we were aboard a new plane and settled in. At 12:30am we were next on line to take off and I still could barely see out to the end of the wing I was sitting next to. A voice came on over the loudspeaker.

    “We’re next to take off folks, but we need to de-ice the wings before we do. It should only be ten or fifteen minutes before we get the go-ahead.”

    Large trucks appeared like ghosts out of the darkness, orange lights speckled by horizontally flying gusts of confetti. I turned away, not quite believing what I was seeing and rubbed my eyes. When I looked back all I saw was the disappearing outline of what must have been a crane. We flew through and ahead of the storm. I came into Laguardia at 2:30am and got home just as the snow started to fall from the sky.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s