Friday, April 30, 2010

When the Trains Stop Running

See that train on the bridge? That's the eastbound PATCO train leaving Center City this morning, heading into Jersey. There was another train just like it stuck on the opposite side taking commuters into work one final day before the weekend. I was running a little late this morning, intentionally so since I'm working later this evening and then meeting Trey in the city for a hot dinner date. Had I not been running late, there is a very strong chance I would have been one of those commuters stranded on the bridge. Stranded, you ask? Yes, power went out all along the PATCO line, and when Trey dropped me off at the Lindenwold station this morning, a small crowd of people busied on their cell phones, stood in front of the gates. "What's going on?" I asked an attendant, and she explained the situation. Trey drove me into work instead, but we hit a snarl of traffic as we approached the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. I could see two helicopters hovering motionless alongside the bridge. "What's going on?" I mused, "Must be an accident." Then I thought a little harder. "I bet there are trains stuck on the bridge and they're evacuating passengers onto buses or something," I speculated to Trey. I was partially right. They had blocked the lanes closest to the trains, but as we drove past, we could see the captive passengers still sitting in the cars, a swarm of officials standing ineffectually on the bridge. At this point they had been there for at least an hour. I was so grateful that my morning had not involved the claustrophobic experience of sitting in an airless, fluorescent lit car suspended over the Delaware River or in the dark tunnels under the city's streets. It was definitely a "that could be me" moment. Thankfully, power was restored some time after 10am. You can read the report here.

3 comments:

Amie Vaughan said...

wow. providence at work. that would not be a pleasant start to the day. i've been stuck in august on south shore line trains that lost their lights and air conditioning... that was bad enough. =P

Jer said...

I rarely used patco but two years ago I tried taking it from Philly to haddonfield, but the whole system had lost power. when texting someone to arange alternate plans my phone automatically corrected my "PATCO" input to "SATAN" : )

Lexie Loo & Dylan Too said...

I'm glad you weren't on there! Phew!!!