Sunday, May 22, 2016

The time we learned that there is a Septa Rail Yard in Frazer.

Dave and I had tickets for One Day University today. It's something we've thought about doing and just never got around to. So when Dave saw it advertised about 2 months ago we checked our calendars and booked it.

The day was almost de-railed (pun intended but you have to wait for it) by the NCAA. When we were checking calendars, Dave commented that this weekend would be for college softball super regionals (aka regionals round 2) but "The chances I will get a regional let alone a super regional are pretty slim this year". Guess who got assigned both a regional AND a super regional playoff. I'll pause now while you virtually high five my husband who underestimates his awesomeness. And despite the gloomy rain we've had so much here lately, the weekend tournament ended on Saturday so our plans were still on for today.

The train is our go to choice for travel into the city. Since tonight I am leaving on the Amtrak out of Paoli to Harrisburg, it made sense to take the train from Paoli to Jefferson Station and back. We'd have an hour and a half to find something to eat before my train to Harrisburg. Perfect! :) Obviously not, or there is no story here.

At 7:51 a.m. we boarded the east bound Septa train at Paoli Station. At approximately 8:00 a.m. train stopped halfway between Devon and Strafford. This can't be good. Then the engine stopped and the lights went out as the emergency lights came on. This really can't be good. Then the engineer comes out of his cage. Three strikes and you're out? It could have been worse. We could have been in a tunnel, right? Fortunately, the first thing the crew chief did was open a door. Now I could breathe. Those of you with claustrophobia know what I'm talking about.

We ended up sitting in place for over 2 and a half hours. Infrastructure problems caused delays on Amtrak, SEPTA trains

After opening a door, stepping outside and talking on the radio the crew chief re-boarded the train and announced "We are going to have to be rescued folks and it's gonna take awhile" As nervous laughter followed him and his announcement down the aisle, I thought to myself that this guy obviously missed the class on emergency crowd control.

Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.
Who's in charge. Amtrak or Septa?  
Then they counted us (37) and the first suggested option was a bus. That really wasn't a viable option though. Unless they planned a helicopter "rescue" there were only two ways to get us to a bus. One was to climb down a short but steep embankment to the parking lot behind the Devon Whole Foods. One man even asked to be let out to do that because his house was three blocks "that" way. The crew said, No. If he got hurt they were responsible.

The other way to get to a bus was to walk along the tracks back to Devon or forward to Strafford. It's doubtful they liked the idea of 37 of us traipsing down the tracks especially with the Amtrak still running on the inside rail.

Option #2 was to get an Amtrak train to stop and pick us up. Most of us did not like that idea. Not that we really had much say but it was nice of the train crew to keep us informed of their thought process. By now many of us were plotting to bail on our plans and find a way back to our cars in Paoli if we could just get off the train nearby. The Amtrak option - we were told- meant non stop to 30th Street from here. Actually I think it stops in Ardmore too but I wasn't going to weigh in on that at the time.

Option #3 was the winner. Wait for the westbound Amtrak to pass and then have a Septa train come out of the Frazer Rail Yard on rail #2 so we could switch trains. I had Dave google the Septa Rail yard so I could see where it was. The things you drive be everyday and never knew.

By 10:30 ish the Septa train arrived and one by one we stepped off our train, two steps to the left and on to the "rescue" train. This is not an easy thing for short people. Heck it wasn't even easy for tall people. It's a long way down from the last step to the track. Getting back up on the new train required significant upper arm strength and serious grunting for most folks.

At the next stop, Strafford, we got off. It was too late to make our classes now. Plus we were worried about getting back out of the city after. First order of business was to find a bathroom. Thank you Rite-Aid. Then we called my Dad who lives in Devon. He wasn't home. Later we calculated he was likely on his way to the Phillies game. It's 4.5 miles back to Paoli so we had breakfast at Nudy's, waved to our stranded train, and walked back to the car. Along the way we saw more than one Amtrak train but no Septa trains. We also saw the "tow train" heading to the rescue.

As of right now, Amtrak expects my train to Harrisburg be on time. Let's hope there are no more delays. :)

Keep Smiling and Keep Moving
-Paula

And when you can't move
just SMILE !! 

1 comment:

  1. A different kind of adventure! Your continued faith in the train system (local and national) is heartening...despite growing evidence of its impending implosion.

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