Nightmare on the Green Line

Memory has scarcely dimmed of the Breda train derailment at the Hynes stop on the Green Line a week ago, during which busses ran between Kenmore and Copley all evening, and especially unlucky riders like yours truly got to ride into Kenmore the British way - that is, running inbound on the outbound track. After an experience like that, you assume you’re safe from the new trains for a while.

A while is approximately one week. This morning I waited, and waited, and waited some more for a train. When one finally came, it was a whopper. It was four cars long and looked like a huge caterpillar roll coming up over the hill, with shiny Breda-train headlights for eyes. The first two cars were a Breda train, and the second two were a real train, the kind that stays on the tracks and goes faster than five miles an hour.

Four cars is two times too long for a train, and the illusion that the Breda train (which under normal circumstances can barely pull its own weight without derailing) was actually towing the real train was quite odd. It pulled up to my stop and the next one simultaneously and then disconnected itself in the middle. The rear end rolled back to my stop and let us all on.

Then the truth came out - as she was grumbling about the useless Breda trains that ought to be taken out of service and sent back to Europe, the driver admitted to having pushed the Breda train over the hill to my stop and was not sanguine about our chances of getting past it, now that it was occupying the stop in front of us.

In the end, the Breda train did manage to turn around and switch to the outbound track. Whether it made any farther progress there, either outbound or Brit-style, is beyond me.

That ought to be the end of the story, but, ironically, farther along the line there was a woman on one of those little personal power-scooters which seem to have replaced wheelchairs among the handicapped jet-set. (The irony, for those of you playing the home ADA game, is that the dysfunctional Breda trains were meant to be handicapped-accessible.) So, after a year of walking around the clunky metal wheelchair lifts on extremely narrow T street platforms, I got to see one in action. I would have been more excited about it if I hadn’t already been nearly half an hour late due to the aforementioned Breda follies.

Those lifts aren’t powered, so a T guy had to crank the woman and scooter up to floor level with a push-pedal. She would have been better off riding her scooter downtown, especially since the train onto which she was so laboriously loaded was rerouted at Park Street station and everyone had to get off. Park Street, by the way, is still a disaster area with large chunks of the inbound platform boarded up. The ground level is being raised to almost, but not quite, meet the floors of the Breda trains.

Of course, a Breda train would have to make it all the way to Park Street for the floors to not-quite-meet and for this perpetual construction to qualify as anything more than just another Boston boondoggle. I’m not holding my breath (except when passing through Hynes or going inbound on the outbound track at Kenmore).

2 Responses to “Nightmare on the Green Line”

  1. LizBeeeee! Says:

    You know, I cannot make heads or tails of that post. Which is annoying, ‘cos it seems oddly interesting. Is there a Boston Public Transport for Dummies book out there? What is a Breda train, and how is it different from your average electric train?

    And what the heck is wrong with Boston trains, anyway? ^_^

  2. Jemima Says:

    Those are such good questions that I’m devoting my next entry to them.