Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Richmond

This is the second of the two stops with a connection between the Capitol and BART, and also the last of the big "pick-up" stations (from here on we will probably have more people get off than on). As we approached the very crowded Richmond platform, the engineer called to the conductors, "I hope you've got some room back there."

"Yeah, right," came the sarcastic response. The conductors began seriously considering denying boarding altogether. They began to worry about the safety hazard presented by having so many people in the aisles, and called Amtrak Operations in Oakland (and spoke to the Union Pacific train dispatcher) to see whether they can deny boarding. Operations gave them permission to turn people down. The conductors made an announcement heard on the platform telling people "sorry, we can't let you on. The next train is in approximately an hour." I bet that is a messy scene on the platform. (I can't see it from my seat up on the upper level. The conductors were asking people to please get clear of the doors so the doors will close. Finally, they got the doors closed and the lead conductor came upstairs and let himself into the driving cab. I suspected he was going to hide there, but he came back out a few minutes later and started looking for passengers planning to get off at Martinez, the next stop, because it's going to take so long to get them out of their seats and downstairs to the doors through this big crowd.

As I expected, passengers are complaining bitterly about this, and I expect the conductors won't dare collect tickets.

Scheduled departure: 2:07
Actual departure: 2:47

Another "interesting" thing today. As we started to accellerate, the cars began to "bottom out," bouncing surprisingly hard on their suspension, as if we had a flat wheel. The engineer was sufficiently concerned to call the dispatcher to report it. I don't think it's bad track -- I think we are actually physically overloaded. It's not something one thinks about often, but we may actually be carrying more weight today than the cars' suspension is designed to handle.
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