Sep 24, 2011

Metra....the way to really FLY! Or not, you know!

A few weeks ago my college roommate emailed me and said she would be in Chicago for a conference.  She'd be getting in Sunday evening for the conference Monday and would I be free to get together.  With my new found love of the train and the cheap weekend fair I checked my calendar and told her yes, I will hop on the train and we'll do dinner.
So that Sunday came around and I had everything arranged for my husband.  Johnny had a soccer game and my father would meet him at the game and they'd go out to dinner.  I had enough time to get everyone dressed and into the car for the game and then quickly finished getting ready and headed off.  I got to the train station just before 4pm for a 4:10 train.  It was raining pretty good by this point but I thought I had an umbrella in the trunk...but I didn't. So I stood as close to the shelter as I could to avoid as many raindrops as possible as I waited.  Once on the train I got my money out, and was just settling in with my iPad when the lights went out. We barely made it to the first stop and the train went eerily quiet.  Within a few moments we were informed that they were checking something with the engine.  Then 20 or so minutes went by in the dark(ish) damp train with a screaming child behind me before they announced that the engine was in fact dead.  But they had no idea what was going to be we sat some more in the dark(ish) train but at least they propped the doors open for a little air movement.  Then we were informed that they were going to let off the break and let the train roll backwards so the doors would be on the crosswalk for the people who just wanted off and were having someone pick them up.  Then the word was that the next train was coming but was going to be heading in on the outbound track so we'd have to get off and cross the train and wait for it but that we had time to wait in the train if we wanted since it was pouring.  After quite a few people had gotten off, they started reboarding....Now the story was that the next train was going to come down our track and push our train all the way downtown but that we would have to get off and get on that train.  At 5pm they made up get off the train for the other trains 5:15 arrival.  The other train arrived after 5:30 because it had to go less than 20 miles an hour because there were two trains on the same track. Then they spent another half hour attaching the trains.  So over na hour was spent standing in the rain. Finally the second train pushed our train out of the way and stopped at the platform and let us on.  The rest of the stops went fairly smoothly as the automated announcements told new riders that the train was operating 80 (and eventually 90) minutes behind schedule (and this train departed the station we did ONE hour later than we did.) As we approached the transportation center another announcement was made, because the train we were riding in was pushing the other train we would have to push it into the station, detach and then back out, switch tracks and reenter the station on another track before we could get off the train.  So FOUR hours after I boarded the train for a 1 hour and 20 minute trip I was actually able to put my feet on the platform and let my friend know I was a short cab ride away.
The upsides, I didn't have my kids with me to stand in the rain or generally be bored through this fiasco. I wasn't missing an important meeting (though my friend WAS pretty hungry by the time I made it.) No one got too crazy even being wet and cold and stuck. 
Not sure if this will hamper my decision to train it into the city as often as I have been or not yet!

Have you ever had one of those trips that just seems to never end?


  1. What a pain in the butt!! Glad the kids weren't with, that would have been a nightmare.

  2. Hahaha, ohhh no!!! Sorry you had such an awful ride!! We're about 1 hour and some change from Chicago on the Metra too!


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