March 11, 2008

Taking the Train

I got to the station a little later than I’d planned, but I still caught the train.

I did manage to find a parking spot, although the lot was badly chopped up by the construction of the Intermodal Center. But it’s free, and I get to the train by 6:58.

It left the station on schedule; a few minutes later it was swaying like a ship on high seas as it crossed an uneven patch of tracks. The rocking continued through Hialeah, but we got through it all right. It does leave me worried about the overall condition of the tracks, however.

I’m sitting in the upper level of car 1012. There are five other passengers, two of whom promptly fall asleep. The other three are students. I pour a cup of coffee from my thermos, and start this missive. There are tables in this car, which makes it easy to work.

I have my camera with me; I didn’t have time to snap any pictures
before getting on the train, and it’s too dark to shoot out through the windows (which are misted over, anyway). I snap a picture of my reflection in the window across the aisle.

Next stop. A couple of people enter my section, I don’t know how many got on the train all told. I pour another cup of coffee; I’m starting feel human.

The train shimmies a little as we traverse the warehouse districts. I toy with the idea of working on some CAD stuff, but it’s hard enough just typing.

7:17. The train blows its horn. It strikes me that it’s calling out "hoooo HA! I need more coffee.

Third stop; where is this? Oh, we’re pulling out already. Never mind. I think it was Opa-Locka. But I never know when I’m in Opa-Locka, and this trip doesn’t change that.

We’re passing through more intersections now, and now there are lines of cars a hundred or so long. Suckers!

I see the highway out the window just before the conductor announces the Golden Glades Station. A handful of people get on here, and there are a few reminders to “stand clear of the doors. I can suddenly see the sky; it’s almost sunrise, and I’m half way to work.

I look at the cars stacking up southbound; but I’m not really that impressed. I see that on my morning drive, and it’s more gleeful to step on the gas while the cars on the other side remain in a bumper to bumper crawl. This isn’t about traffic, its’ about cost savings. My car gets about 28 MPG, and I drive 32 miles to Fort Lauderdale. Even if we say I only use a gallon of gas each way (which I don’t), that would still be about $7 in gas, plus the toll. Call it $8.00

I bought a 12 trip pass, and my round trip costs are $5.52.

Ah, Hollwood Station! I can see out the windows, now. Traffic at the intersections is a LOT denser. A larger group of people get on here; students going to FAU, workers headed for North Broward. We’re more than a dozen in the top of #1012.

I can see an orange glow through the clouds to the east.

Sheridan Street Station; this is the first station where I’ve seen an appreciable parking lot, and FHP trooper keeping watch from his prowler at the far end. Or maybe he’s getting a hummer; the prowler could be empty for all I know.

We’re coming up on the airport, and I’ll pack it in after that. We slow down through a cluster of hotels as we pull in to the station. I’ll fill in the rest on the trip home.

Next up: negotiating my way from the station to my office!

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