Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Commute From Hell

I'm glad I don't have that commute anymore.  Or at least I only have to deal with it one day a week, and not that if roads are questionable.  Yesterday's ice storm left us all glittery and a commute that sort of looked like this:

But some folks don't have the telework or liberal leave option, so they slipped and slid out their doors, some of them to the MARC commuter train station in Harper's Ferry, climbing sleepily aboard to head east at 6:05 am.  Only to come to a crashing stop about 10 minutes after leaving the station.

A lot of ice burdened trees came down yesterday.  The MARC train was passing one at just the wrong moment.  Fortunately, none of the crew was sitting there when the tree hit.

They made it into the Brunswick station and then sat while the powers that be decided whether or not train service was going to happen on that line at all.  Finally, another engine was put on and the commute resumed.

And then there was another crash.

Once again it was fortunate that nobody was sitting in that seat.  This one involved power lines and they had to wait for the power company to send a crew out before anybody could do anything.  

At that point MARC threw up their hands and said "We're taking you home."  Back the other way they went.  Only to hit another tree on the way back.

A friend of mine headed for the first train at 5:50 am.  She got back to her house about 12:30 pm, having made it about 10 miles.  Maybe she should have checked her horoscope before leaving.  Staying in bed would have been the better option.


  1. Wow. Commuting here, even on the worst days, isn't that bad. The biggest tie-ups in the Anchorage area usually come down to hours spent on the highway, waiting for DOT or the Troopers to clear an accident scene. (There's no light rail here, anyway.)

    Our sympathy to all those affected.

    1. I was caught a couple times when the train hit a pedestrian, which means a 2 to 3 hour delay. There was the breakdown on the Penn line that stranded people in an un-airconditioned train on a +90 degree day and landed people in the hospital due to heat exhaustion. And a couple times we simply received word that the trains weren't running at the end of the day. Which is a bit disconcerting when your car is in the train lot 75 miles away.

  2. Almost had a similar one on Long Island a few years back.

    The college in NYC where I teach had sent out word on the telephone tree (back before e-mail and internet access was not nearly as universal as it now is) that the college would be open. The word on the radio was that the colleges were still open.

    I began to drive in, and so drove my car to the Parkway and got on. By the time the next exit came into view, I decided that I would get off and take the Long Island Railroad in. I drove to the station and parked my car.

    Meanwhile, the snow was getting worse and worse.

    So I went to the payphone at the station and called into my Departmental office. I told the Departmental Secretary that I would not be arriving that day. She told me that the college was still open, but that she did not blame me in the least, and that her husband was en route to pick her up and take her home (she lived only 5 blocks from the college), but that she would have to report me as absent that day.

    By the time I drove the 2 miles from the station to my home (about 25 minutes), there was a message on our telephone tape that the college had been declared closed down as of 3:00 PM, just before my class was scheduled to begin.

    I later learned that some of my colleagues who were foolish enough to actually venture out in the weather arrived on campus for nothing.

    1. Telework is a lovely thing. Also being so far past the point of caring that "Hell, no" is an acceptable response to being called in.

  3. When God decides you need a snow-day, by golly, YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE YOUR SNOW DAY.

  4. In my corner of Indiana we got 5 inches of snow but no ice.

  5. THAT qualifies as the commute from hell (at least for that day)...