Thursday, November 17, 2005

An Entire Legion of My Best Orange-Vested Troops Awaits

This morning I was driving towards Bethel Park along Route 88 when I spotted a large force of rail workers in bright orange vests flanking one set of rails near the trolley station at Washington Junction. It looked like a major repair project was underway, but my wife told me otherwise, and sure enough, she was right:

A light-rail passenger train car derailed at the Washington Junction station in Bethel Park early today causing up to half-hour delays for service on the T.

No passengers had yet boarded the light-rail car as it was heading toward the start of its route on the Library T line. The operator was not injured. The T car derailed about 5:30 a.m., but did not tip over, Port Authority of Allegheny County spokesman Bob Grove said.

I reckon if you're going to have a derailment it's best to get it over with right away before anyone tries to ride the trolley. When I drove past about six hours later, rail traffic was still being re-routed onto one track and a trolley was parked on the inbound lane, several yards past the orange vests. Rather than displaying a route number and name, the sign above the front window said "Car House". It should have been obvious that the car house is the trolley garage out by South Hills Village, but I was disoriented today since I took the day off from work. (I've forgotten how to be home.) No, for some reason, I though that "Car House" referred to that particular trolley, and meant that it was a trolley car that housed the orange vested workers as they traveled to trouble spots along the light rails. You know, like a troop transport.

Well, they had to get there somehow.

But just think -- in one week, derailments shouldn't be a problem anymore. Because the Pork Authority employees' union has set the day after Thanksgiving as their strike date, and if/when that happens, gophers like me who have allowed ourselves to be seduced into relying on public transportation for our daily commute to and from work are going to be totally screwed.

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