I take the MBTA commuter rail into Boston every morning. I pick up the train from Middleboro and ride the whole line into Boston. Normally, it’s a time to take a nap. Today was a little more interesting.
I got on the train at 7:10, and sat down at my seat. I am highly trained, so I was out cold by the time we pulled out of the station at 7:20. I awoke from my slumber as we pulled into the JFK/UMass stop. (Note, I have no idea HOW I do this, but I seem to have an uncanny ability to wake up before we pull into South Station. Again, I’m highly trained.) We pulled into the railyard, and came to a stop as we waited for our usual “Terminal Congestion” to clear up. All seemed normal.
All of a sudden, the conductor comes rushing through.
“Excuse me! Coming through! Need to get through!”
Odd… thought I; I wonder where he is going… I continued to wait for us to pull in the station…
Then, the engineer comes rushing through, much in the same manor.
“Excuse me! Coming through! I need to get back to the engine!”
For those of you who don’t take the train. The engineer coming through the car is roughly the equivalent to the pilot running through the plane with a worried look on his or her face, just not as bad. At this point, the passengers realize something is wrong, and the murmurs start. I realize we’re going to be stuck here for a bit.
About 5 minutes later the PA system comes on
“Excuse me, folks… The engine is filling with smoke, so we’re going to get everyone out of the last car so they don’t have to deal with it”
OK… Smoke + Train engine = Not good
People started filling up into my car and some looked genuinely nervous. I figured there was nothing to really worry about, but, I was happy to see that I was located at the emergency exit window. We continued to sit there, and wonder what was going to happened when the PA came back on.
“Mmmmmrrrffrrr murffrummmrrr mrrr fuuu mrrrr”
I still have no idea what they said. They were probably making some kind of real announcement, but they were so quiet, no one could hear it. I only heard that because I was right underneath a speaker. I had to actually shoosh people to try and make out what was being said.
Soon after, word came through the crowd that we were getting off. We assumed we would be walking down the tracks, because, after all, we were literally a stones throw away from South Station. Nope. Another train pulled up on the track to our left.
At this point, I sent a message to my wife, who works in one of the towns I pass through on the train. I figured there was a non-zero chance that she might here some kind of rumor.
If you here something about a train filling with smoke and people being evaced, that would be me. I’m fine. Love you.
People started getting off and filling the other train. When I walked out, I did glance behind me at the engine, and failed to see any kind of smoke. After getting on the other train, everyone thought that they could just stand up and everyone would still fit, leaving angry conductors yelling at people to move in, but people having no where to move. I was smart and sat down, allowing me to avoid being squished and not have to stand for another 15 minutes while people shuffled on.
We pulled into South Station around 9:15, about 60 minutes from when we broke down, and 2 hours from when we left Middleboro. Hooray MBTA. The one bit of good news from this is that I made $15.50 because I was over 30 minutes late, which I will be submitting today. IC-2200H, here I come.