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Red Line Train To Myself

I got to the Alewife platform this morning at about 11:10, as a train was pulling out. There was a second train there, empty, doors closed. It looked like it was going out if service. I waited on the platform with a few dozen others.

Another train came in. Everyone unloaded.  Immediately, the loud departure warning bell started ringing. We all piled on to the new train – the bell was ringing, and it was the only train with open doors.

I was dubious. Generally, the driver has to walk from one end of the train to the other (it’s Alewife, so the trains reverse direction). If that driver hasnt taken the walk, no one is going anywhere.  I stayed alert.

The train that had been there the whole time, the empty one, started up. It rolled a few feet and stopped. The doors opened.  I jumped out of the full train and hustled over.

“Are you headed out?” I shouted to the driver, who was leaning his head out the window.

He nodded.

“They’re all on the other train,” I shouted. “The other train is full of passengers.”

He gave a sort of embarassed shrug.

I got on his train. The door closed. We rolled out of Alewife.

I had a train all to myself.

(I think it was train #1636 if any MBTA people are reading)


Comment from octopusgrabbus
Time: May 22, 2009, 3:57 pm

It probably had to do with the next train in and how the station wanted to position the next train; that is whether they wanted the next Alewife inbound train to cross over or come straight in.

I don’t know if they still do this, but at Porter, the driver used to have to pick up a phone mounted on the wall and talk with someone, before leaving for Alewife (from Porter).

The part that could have been at fault was whether the “next train out” sign was lit for the train on which you were originally and whether the departure bell (accompanied by a light and at the outbound tunnel entrance for each track) was ringing for the train you were on originally.

And then, it could have been as lame as you describe.

Comment from BOB
Time: May 22, 2009, 4:40 pm

big deal do u want a cookie?

Comment from lynn
Time: May 22, 2009, 4:56 pm

no, but i sure do!

Comment from dunster
Time: May 23, 2009, 4:55 pm

@octopus: I agree, it was to make room for the next incoming train. Still, they should have loaded the train that was leaving, not the train that was waiting. That “next train out” sign hasn’t lit up in months. There wasn’t an announcement about which track was leaving. And my past experience tells me that even if there WAS an announcement, it would have sounded like the elementary school teacher in the Peanuts cartoons. It’s basically just another blog post about MBTA’s failure to be a customer-focused organization.