Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Great Escape

Yet another tale from our disintegrating Metro. This surely can't be the according-to-Hoyle way to handle this.

From Krack Barry:
It was like any other Monday. Get on train, ride, zone out.

I got on at Vienna with the remnants of people who'd just missed a train or opted to wait for an emptier one.

The train got more crowded as we went along, and people were, as always, crowding the doors instead of moving to the center of the car.

I was in train car #6139.

Things were going fine through Foggy Bottom, but then, as we were pulling out of the Farragut West stop, I overheard someone saying "the doors didn't open."

I wasn't sure what was going on at first and didn't pay too much attention until we pulled into McPherson Square and then heard someone saying "the doors aren't opening."

That's when it got interesting.

A young man in his 20s who I'll refer to as "The Passenger" begin to communicate with the operator over the emergency intercom.

I could only hear one side of the conversation, and all I heard was "none of the doors opened at Farragut West, and a lot of people missed their stops, and now the doors aren't opening again, and we need to get off."

A few moments went by and still nothing happened. Then I heard "The Passenger" say "can we use the emergency door release?"

Then silence for a few moments.

Then, we heard through the overhead speakers from who I assume was the driver of the train "please use the emergency door release."

Then "The Passenger" begin to read aloud how to use the emergency door release from the directions posted on the side of the train, and within a few moments the left door of the center car on the right side of the train opened.

A lot of passengers begin to go through the doors as "The Passenger" appeared to hold the door release.

Then, we heard the pre-recorded message with the voice saying "doors closing" with the usual chime of the bell.

I saw the door was still open, and people were still going through.

I wondered if the train was going to start moving.

Luckily, that didn't happen, and more people got out of the train.

Then "The Passenger" said "anyone else?" And just like that he said "you all have a nice day" as he was the last one to go through the door that he opened.

I'm not sure, but I think someone went to the emergency door release, did something, and the door closed on its own.

After the train started moving, I got up and thought that I probably should get off at Metro Center just to be on the safe since the Metro Center platform is on the left side.

Thinking that maybe the problem was isolated to the right side car doors, I figured I would see what happened with the left side doors as my stop is Federal Center SW, and the doors open on the left as well.

At Metro Center, things went smoothly, same at Federal Triangle, where the doors also open on the left. I thought things would get interesting at Smithsonian, where the doors open on the right, but the doors opened and closed normally.

Just another manic Monday.
Other items:
Key decisions ahead this week for Dulles rail (Examiner)
Planning for Purple Line moving forward despite no money (WaPo)
NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman blasts Metro in speech (C-Span)
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