Wednesday, October 1, 2008


"Attention, Customers! Due to an earlier disabled train, as well as a switching problem at Harvard Square, we are experiencing severe delays in service. We regret any inconvenience this may cause. If you're late for work, however, we hope you get fired!"
"What the fuck does T management think they are?" one of the riders snarled on the platform at Wollaston station as the rain turned to ice, and then to snow, on a cold late November morning-the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, to be exact.
"I don't know what to tell ya," one of the passengers said as the Silver Bird train came into the station. The large crowd ran onto the train the minute the doors opened. Several people gave up their seats to allow the seniors and the pregnant ladies in the crowd to sit down. Many leaned against the door-a no no according to the T's rules-as it closed up. The train sped away.

At North Quincy Station, several dozen more people crushed into the train.
"Watch the doors, please!" the conductor shouted. "There's no more room on this train! There are several more trains behind us. Watch the doors; the doors will be closing."
"Stand by, please!" the station master on the platform shouted. "Stand by!"
The doors re-opened and the master said, "Ladies and gentlemen, this Boston bound train will be standing by for an undetermined time, owing to the earlier disabled train, and the ongoing signal problem in Harvard Square. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause!"
"That sucks!" the conductor on the train shouted. The train stood by for nearly 10 minutes while a few more people got packed into the train "like a can of sardines," as someone once said. This caused quite a few of them to finally get out and wait for the next train.  After another 2 minutes, the station master said, "Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for your patience. This Boston bound train will be moving out."
The train finally sped out of North Quincy Station on its way to Boston. Unfortunately, as it was half way over the bridge that spanned the Neponset River, it fell off the tracks and plunged into the cold river. People didn't have time to react before it hit the water. It sank within seconds, killing more than 300 passengers. Only about 40 or 50 made it out.

"Attention, customers!" the voice on the intercom said. "Due to a tragic accident on the bridge outside of North Quincy Station, the Braintree branch of the Red Line is closed indefinitely. Shuttle buses will be operating between JFK-UMass station and Braintree station. Those people wishing to assist in rescue and recovery operations please take the Red Line to JFK-UMass station, where you'll be shuttled to the site."
As it was to be discovered, several inches of ice had accumulated the minutes after the rain had turned to ice. This meant very slippery conditions on the track itself. Somehow, the train had hit an icepack and had gone off the track. Before anyone had time to react, they were toast.
Those who did escape suffered from hypothermia and had to be taken to area hospitals.

To be continued...

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