Friday, February 20, 2009

A Late Morning

The Franklin line was particularly bad this morning; the #706 inbound train was cancelled, and the #708 train arrived at Ruggles at 8:52, over a full hour late. That's the third time so far this year that I've had the chance to file an On-Time Guarantee claim.

Every time it happens I find people on the train who didn't know about the guarantee, and didn't know that they could cash those tickets in. I should make up cards with instructions and pass them out whenever there's a 30+ minute delay.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Trouble With A Capital T

Things haven't changed much on the Franklin commuter line.

There've been some late trains, and I've collected a few free tickets. The stairs at the Ruggles station are still crumbling. In the last couple of months there have been several times on the outbound #717 train (departing South Station at 4:20 PM) when no doors were opened on either side of two adjacent cars; twice I saw passengers who weren't able to get off the train at their stops, and ended up being carried along to the next station unwillingly. I tried to help one of them by opening the door and stairs myself, but by the time I'd noticed her plight and gotten the door open, the train was already in motion. There was, of course, no conductor around.

Today was pretty special, though. The morning #708 train was going very slowly. There were a couple of announcements; the #704 was disabled, and the #706 was joining up with it to push it out of the way. We were supposed to arrive at Ruggles at 7:50 AM, but we got there at 8:25 instead.

When we got there, people lined up to get out. But the lines didn't move in my coach. The doors were shut, and the passengers who were trying to open the doors...couldn't. They said they were stuck. I was far back in the line myself, or I would have given it a try. Needless to say, there was no conductor in sight.

We all turned around and started rushing down the coach to the next set of doors. But we hadn't reached them before we all realized that the train was moving, picking up speed. There was a univeral groan.

Fortunately someone reached a conductor, and the train finally stopped. We were well down the long Ruggles platform by then; all but two coaches were past the barrier that blocks off the crumbling, unused half of the platform (I'll get a photo of that soon, if I can - update: got it). We stepped out onto a continuous sheet of thick ice. Since it was an off-limits area, it had never been salted or sanded. We had to squeeze carefully around the wooden barrier, with no more than a few feet of clearance between the barrier and the train. It was a tight fit for some! And it may have been worse for the people on the other side, since if they slipped they wouldn't have the train as a backstop - they'd have ended up falling straight down onto the tracks. Luckily, no one slipped.

Here's a shot that I took of the closed platform that afternoon. It had been a relatively warm day, and the sun had melted some of the ice since that morning. But even so, there was a lot left! By the way, that half of the platform has been closed for as long as I can remember - years, at least. It's crumbling badly.
It could have been worse, of course - we could have been forced to get off at Back Bay instead, and been even more late. As it was, I got into work 40 minutes late. I later heard that people on the #704 train had had a two-hour delay!

P.S. - I've been told a great story that I hope to be able to post soon. The T apparently mailed out some duplicate letters and tickets for their On-Time Guarantee, and they're handling the issue remarkably poorly - even for the T. One suggestion: check your O-TG letters for duplicate numbers. If you find some, don't try to cash in duplicates at the same time. More on this later, I hope!