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Fun On The Metro


Normally my ride into work on our fair city's rapid transit system is uneventful. I get on at the end of the line, sit down, read the freebie version of the Post, do the crossword puzzle, play a little Collapse on my phone. The train fills up as we go along, gets crowded through downtown, then empties out as we head back uptown.

Today? A little different.

It was the same old ride up until Judiciary Square (or maybe it was Union Station? I forget. I was zoned.), when the train operator announced that we would be stopped for a bit -- someone on the train was ill and needed to be taken off the train.

Okay, that's a good idea.

After a couple minutes we were on our way. At Gallery Place, the operator announced that we would delayed a little while because of a maintenance issue.

Okay, also a good idea.

Again we were on our way, heading into the tunnel.

Suddenly, BANG! BUMP! I mean, bang like a gunshot! People jumped and a few gasped and squealed. I looked out into the tunnel and saw smoke, then smelled an acrid, burning smell. I will admit that my heart raced a tad. The train slowed, then continued.

BANG! BANG! More smoke! Burning smell! More squeals; my heart reached cardio workout level. (Given Joe's recent experience, I'm surprised I wasn't more panicky.) A couple people wanted off the train and expressed that wish.

The train stopped. The operator said, "Attention passengers (oh, don't worry, Ms. Train Operator, you have it!) we are going to inch our way to Metro Center and find out what's going on. Please do not panic."

Okay, I guess that's a good idea, seeing as how we're stuck in the tunnel. On the other hand, perhaps that maintenance issue should have gotten a little more attention back there at Gallery Place.

We rolled slowly into Metro Center, where the train was placed out of service. Everyone got off and milled around for awhile. I called work to let my boss know the deal, then thought about my alternatives. Switch lines and then try for a bus? Cab?

Well, it all worked out. Metro started single-tracking so all I had to do was cross over to opposite platform and wait for the next train going in my direction. I wasn't even very late for work. I must admit, though, that I prefer the uneventful ride.