March 12, 2008

The Return Trip

So I found the shuttle from the downtown bus depot to the train station

Getting out from the station is easy; the shuttle is right there. I couldn’t find the stop for the afternoon trip yesterday, so I sprang the $1.25 to take a bus that eventually showed up. I was more stubborn today, and finally someone said that a big white bus sometimes stops at the sidewalk and they think it’s the Tri Rail bus, and in short order, one did, and it was. There were no markings on it. The driver stared at me for a moment when I asked if this was the bus to the TriRail station. He slouched and nodded his head grudgingly. “Yeh. Dis it.” Unlike the morning bus, which was one of those shuttle jobs, this is one of those big lease buses, the kind you’d take a group down to Key West in for a day excursion.

There are six of us on board. Comfortable seats, and a radio. Good thing I like loud rock.

Yesterday I got hung up at work, so I took the 5:30 train. Today, I make it for the 4:30 train. But I make it because it’s late. It’s late because of a CSX train. The CSX train means that everyone waiting at Platform 1 (the ‘southbound’ side) has to run UP the very tall staircase, across the bridge, and DOWN the very tall (and steep) stair case to get to Platform 2, where the train is now going to arrive.

There’s some swearing, but we all make it.

Yesterday’s train was very full, but I was in a lead car, and it was later in the day. Today, I’m in the last car, up top, with the tables. I didn’t realize how much I missed the tables this morning.

Just before we split away from 95, I snap some pictures of the traffic piling up. I don’t miss that. The return trip is certainly faster than the trip up, although the same amount of time elapses.

The train wobbles a bit as it curves away. I realize, after this morning, that it’s actually the suspension on the train cars, and not the tracks. The new trains gave a very smooth ride over the same sections that make the old trains shake and shimmy.

We’ve reduced to crawl for some reason. We lapsed the CSX train miles back, so it’s got to be something else. We speed up again just before they call out “Golden Glades Station!”

The conductor is nagging passengers about getting off; I guess he’s trying to get back on schedule. “Welcome to the Golden Glades! Everyone disembark – these are short stops! All aboard! We are now leaving the Golden Glades.”

Really, he said it just like that.

There’s a lot more to see on The Return Trip, being daylight and all.

We’re now leaving beautiful Opa-locka, passing through the quaint recking yards and their stacks of dead automobiles. Rusting steel and rotting tires combine to create rustic heights around the stagnant drainage ditches. Charming.

Next, we pull into upper Hialeah, and its groves of cranes and personnel lifts.

Metrorail transfer; I used to pass through this station a lot, but now I’m on until the end.

The warehouse districts suddenly spruce up before we get to Hialeah Market. I don’t know why. Proximity to the airport, I suppose. We pass through the mess they’ve made of 54th Street by Flamingo Plaza; it’s been dug up for months; it’s gotta be affecting businesses.

I’m packing it in now, we’re almost at my stop, and my battery is down to 54% (forgot to charge it at the office).

Yep. This train thing isn’t bad. Not bad a’tall.

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