Friday, September 30, 2016


Looks like my working from home led me to miss all the fun in Hoboken yesterday.

I went through Hoboken to get to Manhattan for years. On our side of the scenic lower Hudson Valley, you have a choice if you want to take a train to Manhattan: Cross the river by car and pick up a train that goes straight to Midtown, or take a train close to home that goes through New Jersey. Used to be you would have to go through Hoboken, then take the PATH train to Midtown or to downtown; then they opened Secaucus Junction, which offered a transfer direct to Penn Station.

I expect Secaucus is going to get a lot more business starting tomorrow.

It's hard to tell from this or the other pictures, but the tracks are below the platform, and the tracks end in a large springlike cushion that helps stop a train coming in faster than the regulated 10 miles per hour. I can't understand how this happened.

Before the train gets into Hoboken it runs slowly (very slowly, if you have an important meeting first thing in the morning) along a stretch where there is nothing but switches and control towers and stuff that I have no idea what it is. There is no way that this train blew into the station without being seen moving too fast. Was there was warning? Did someone announce on the PA at Hoboken, "Get the hell away from Track Two!" Not from what I've heard.

But didn't the engineer know what was happening, and call in "Hey, I can't stop!"? He was treated at the hospital and released, so it wasn't apparently a terroristic action. Those guys usually make sure they get killed along with a lot of people. (I admit it was my first thought when I heard the news.)

So there's a million questions right now and very few answers. I feel terrible for everyone involved, from the woman who was killed to the many who were injured to those who are just going to be terribly inconvenienced. There's no way into town that is not jam-packed at rush hour, and when something happens that disrupts one of the travel methods it makes the others more miserable for everybody.

For the record, the train that crashed was on the Pascack Valley Line, which is not the one I took. But the woman who was killed was not actually on the train, but on the platform. Hoboken Terminal averages 15,101 passenger boardings each weekday, and everyone I know up here who's taken the train has been through that terminal. I guess it could have been me, but as always, it could have been anybody.

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