I Survived My First ‘Real’ Subway Breakdown

I had my first bonafide, actual, stuck in the tunnel subway ride on the weekend. We were headed downtown for some awesome family weekend activity, when between 86th and 81st the train came to a screeching halt.

Now I wasn’t too concerned to start with because as millions of strap-hangers know, the MTA sucks. Trains stop, then go and some drivers bounce the brakes like Captain Kangaroo and some go too fast and others go too slow.
The announcements are never audible because of the crappy speakers.

Basically getting on a subway train in New York is an overall crappy experience however I’ve always managed to get to my end destination without too much trouble.

Sure some days are more entertaining than others, some are more creepy too and occasionally you wonder why the hell didn’t I take a cab?

Well to take a cab is to put your life in someone’s hands who a) can’t drive, b) doesn’t know where he’s going or speak English and c) probably only arrived in the country last week …… remember The Terminal with Tom Hanks?
Occasionally you’ll get a good one but not very often. I just don’t take them anymore.

Anyway I digress……

So there we were, stuck in the tunnel. As I’ve said, I’ve done this before……..it’s usually only about 5 minutes……… then they shut the train off and we’re there, in the train, in the tunnel, in silence. 🙁

As they turned the train off there was a collective ‘sigh’ from the passengers in our car. An ‘Oh great‘ sigh, you know the kind.
I said something like “Oho” to the King and he said “Wait til they turn the lights out!”

I’m glad that didn’t happen.

So we were marinating there in our subway car with everyone else, when an engineer came busting through the door at a breakneck pace checking something, radio at his hip blasting out instructions, then on to the next car. I imagine he was going right to the end of the train.

Are we in a movie?

Of course while we were sitting there all sorts of images came to mind…. I didn’t feel a bump, did we hit someone?

No, we’re between stations, no one would be there.

Did something break? What could be wrong. The stages of panic ran through my head.

Then the King referenced the movie ‘The Taking of  Pelham 123’, and I said ‘If Densel comes through that end door, in fact if any actor does, then I guess we’ll know it’s a movie.’
But  no one famous did, just a different conductor asking if anybody tried to get off, open the doors while the train was moving or if anything was stuck in the door? UMM…..no….. really?
Nothing like that happened in our car and so she continued moving forward through the train.

Waiting, waiting……….

By this time we’d been there about 20 minutes and during this time, only once was there any announcement saying what was happening and the description was pretty vague. There was no ‘Sorry for any inconvenience’. The MTA really don’t care about your time or inconvenience.

And then, as if it never happened, the train started back up and we continued on without explanation.

You know, exactly like when you get hauled into security or immigration at the airport. They eventually let you go but never tell what the problem was. Oh that hasn’t happened to you? Just me then? Right.

After a few minutes there was an announcement, like it was an after thought ‘sorry folks’ and that was it.

I wasn’t in a movie, I didn’t get to walk the tracks in the subway tunnel, I didn’t even freak out, which I’m quite proud to say ………….we were just late to our destination.

Totally not in a movie that day ….

Comments 2

  1. Totally impressed with your not freaking out. I have been trapped in an elevator once… it did not go well.

    Man, this almost wants to make me risk my life in a taxi as long as there are vomit bags in the back seat.

    1. Post

      Thanks! I was impressed too but I was trying to set the example for the babies AND the King was there to save me 🙂
      However,this was my first time in 7 years so I still think the subway is safer than any NYC cab. I hate them and would rather walk.

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