Monday, May 14 – Tuesday, May 15

Back on the trains, for a day

Not much to say about Monday, it was a pretty ordinary workday.  Well one thing was a bit out of the ordinary, I came in and left a bit later than usual, which enabled me to miss any traffic delays on the Sunrise Highway.  Not that the delays always occur, but in the mornings they have happened often enough that it’s generally a good thing to be able to drive at a later time.

Now Tuesday, that was something very much out of the ordinary.  I was dispatched to Connecticut to make a call on an existing customer who had a bit of a problem with the products and/or services we had sold him a while back.  Now, the problem is nothing that couldn’t be solved over the telephone, or even via e-mail, but the customer in question is an antsy sort and might well have bolted for a competitor without some hand-holding.  Hence, my assignment.

I was debating whether to drive or take the train.  Normally I would have driven, but in that I’m still using the Chevy Silverado behemoth the train won out.  While I would be reimbursed for gasoline I’m a bit wary about driving such a big vehicle through heavy traffic.   Now, being that I had to be in Darien by 10, and certainly didn’t want to risk being late, taking the train was a bit of a logistical challenge.  Or trains, being that there’s (obviously) no line running from Long Island to Connecticut.  My routing was as follows:

  • LIRR 6:24 Ronkonkoma –> Penn Station
  • subway 1 –> Times Square S –> Grand Central
  • Metro North 8:34 Grand Central –> Darien
  • Metro North 10:44 Darien –> Grand Central
  • subway S –> Times Square 1 –> Penn Station
  • LIRR 2:14 Penn Station –> Ronkonkoma

As for my train observations, the 6:24 from Ronkonkoma to Penn was a “super express,” stopping only at Hicksville.  Even though I was riding in one of the rear (east) cars, which sometimes are less crowded than others, at least three-quarters of the seats were full by departure.  Yes, I engaged in the Baby Elephant Walk to find a seat.   What few remaining seats were still empty filled up at Hicksville and there were some standees.  Fortunately, the older man who sat next to me wasn’t large and I had sufficient room.  We got to Penn right on time at around 7:30, which normally would have been enough time for me to walk to Grand Central, but it was raining so heavily it would be the subway for me.  I actually bought an umbrella from a street vendor for $5.  Under normal circumstances I don’t do the umbrella scene, wet clothes dry out and all that, but I figured it would be raining in Connecticut too and I didn’t want to make a bad impression on the customer.

There was nothing much to say about the subways from Penn to Grand Central, though the connection at Times Square was really quick.  The Metro North 8:34 to Darien made Greenwich as its first stop, not counting the boarding-only stop at 125th Street.  I’d been hoping for one of the new M-8 consists, but the cars were older M-2’s.  I rode near the head of the consist, and the car never got more than about half-full.  It was a quick ride, no delays of any sort.  It’s been so long since I’ve ridden the New Haven line that I’d actually forgotten the names of some of the stations that we passed.  Harrison, for example, and across the Connecticut line Old Greenwich and Riverside.  Oh, one more thing I noticed, this time with some dismay, is that Metro North charges peak fares on outbound New Haven line morning trains from Grand Central.  Not only do they soak it to regular commuters, they do so to reverse commuters too.   Wait, did I say “dismay?”  Dunno why, since I was not of course paying for the tickets.

I had been counting on spending at least a couple of hours with the customer in Darien.  What I did not expect was that I was able to solve his problems in less than a half-hour.  Yes, that makes it more obvious that the issue should have been solved over the phone, but sometimes it’s necessary to go the extra mile.  Or extra 150+ miles, as the case may be.

My return journey, all the different legs of it, were uneventful.  I’d been half-expecting some delays from the rain, but none happened. The Metro North train was as uncrowded as its (slightly) earlier outbound counterpart had been, but the LIRR 2:14 was much busier than I would have expected for an off-hour train.  At least the man who sat next to me weighed under 350 pounds.  I’d place him at no more than 340 – 345.  After I got my half-squished self back to Ronkonkoma, I went into work for a couple of hours.  I wouldn’t have gone in had my stay in Darien not been so short.




Published in: on May 18, 2012 at 3:37 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Really? A blog about commuting in New York City?

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