The 8:16 Impostor

I set out on foot this morning, leaving the Trek in the garage with a forecast of an inch of rain on its way.

I was cutting it close for the 8:16, as usual, turning the corner at Chelsea and Elwood at 8:12.

I hoofed it a bit, picking up the pace. As I crossed the Rte 141 hill, I saw a train ambling into Hawthorne station.

Huh? My watch said 8:12. No way.

Maybe this happens every day, I thought, and I’m just not pulling into the station until a few minutes later.

The train sat there for a moment. I picked up the pace. I broke into a jog.


No way.

Could it be the 8:16, three minutes early?

No way.

At 8:14, as I stepped into the station lot, it took off.

The platform was empty.

A few confused would be riders made their way down the stairs, looking at each other for answers or support.

An announcement came on the PA system.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the 7:52 is operating about 20 minutes late,” it said.

There was something about a switch problem, which I seem to be hearing a lot about these days.

We figured the 8:16 would thusly be 20 minutes late too.

At 8:17, a train whistle sounded, and the rig appeared from behind Gordo’s.

It was one of those ancient Don Drape expresses, big boxy dull gray things. It chugged past us.

At 8:26, our own sleek 8:16 showed up.

And on we went, 10 minutes tardy and not moving very quickly. But southbound nonetheless.

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