Friday, November 05, 2004

# Posted 12:32 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

NEVER TO BE OUTDONE BY THE BRITISH, the United States has created an even more maddening public railway system. I am in New York right now, having spent eleven hellish hours trying to get here from Charlottesville.

First, the bus from Charlottesville to Union Station in DC was half an hour late. That was the best thing that happened all day.

Ten minutes after my train left Union Station for New York, the engine died. Around 45 minutes later, another engine arrived. It died, too, but at least it got us to Baltimore. In a haze because I tried to catch some sleep while waiting for the second engine, I left my umbrella on the train.

In Baltimore, they told us another train to New York was coming. Just before it arrived, they told us not to get on because it was too crowded, but to get on the commuter train across the platform which would be redirected to New York. From the window of the commuter train, we could see that the train across the platform wasn't crowded...as it pulled away from the station.

Half an hour later, our commuter train left Baltimore. They never told us we were going to have to wait that long, so I missed the chance to get my umbrella back. It was a nice one, too. Finally, the train left Baltimore. When it arrived in Philadelphia, they ordered us off the train and told us we had to switch again.

At least it wasn't too long of a wait, and the next train turned out to be an Acela, and we got to sit in business class because that's all that was available. But that really didn't make up for being two and a half hours late and for being led around like ignorant cattle.

Amtrak is usually very reliable, but this was simply ridiculous. You can bet I'll be asking for a refund.
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