Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fire shuts down Park Street and Downtown Crossing

An electrical fire in a subway tunnel shut down Park Street and Downtown Crossing stations today at rush hour. Not a big deal. Fire trucks and ambulances all over the place. Lots of people milling around, not knowing where to go or what to do. I normally get on at Downtown Crossing and a guy at the station told me to go to Park. I go to Park and a guy told me I could catch a train at South Station. 

Everyone was polite and no one knew what was going on. 

I got over to South Station and go through the turnstiles and a small group of people standing around a guy who I noticed had a T on his sleeve. (All the T employees seemed to be wearing different uniforms today.) Anyway, this guy was a lot more flustered than the others I talked to. He kept saying the station was shut down and we had to go upstairs and grab a shuttle bus to Broadway. 

Grab a bus....where?  


Upstairs, where? Geez, there's a whole freakin' city upstairs. 

Where you catch the Number 9 bus. Well, it seemed none of us catches the Number 9 bus, but we still dutifully trudged upstairs and out into what was becoming steady rain. 

I stood first in one spot, until some woman came by yelling to everyone that the shuttle buses were down further. God love the loudmouths in the city sometimes, huh?

I walked farther down, not a bus was in sight, and it was imminently clear that there weren't going to be enough buses for that mob. 

I went inside South Station. There's a bar and I figured I'd get a burger and a beer, and wait for this whole mess to blow over, but once inside the bar I just turned around. I'm in a train station, for God's sake. There has to be a train going where I'm going. 

Once again (I was getting good at this) I looked for a small group of people standing around someone with a T on their shoulder. A man was over by the Amtrak desk, and he knew the train schedules. Yes, there were not one, but two trains heading South. He answered each question calmly and accurately. (I wish I would have gotten his name; he deserves a commendation for this, or at least whatever it is the T uses to reward good service.) 

I bought a ticket and in about ten minutes I was heading home. Of course they didn't collect the ticket on the train. 

This was just a small fire. Not a huge crisis. And the thing I learned is this city is not prepared for any kind of major crisis. But we knew that, right? 

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