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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mission Impossible

Something had happened on the Brussels subway system yesterday morning. I don’t know what but there weren’t any trains for about fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes during morning rush hour is a long time, so when I arrived on the platform it was stacked with people. While I was waiting other people arrived and they had to cue on the stairs and beyond. When the first train finally did arrive, people couldn’t get off the train because there was no more room left on the platform. I had to wait for the third train before I could finally climb on, together with a bunch of bloody tourists who went to visit the European Parliament. They were totally oblivious to the fact that it was rush hour and that people wanted to get off at the next stops. So a couple of commuters couldn’t get out in time and had to wait until the bloody tourists left the train three stops further.

In the evening, the subway was working fine. I left an hour later from work after finishing a subroutine of the database I’m making (I must tell you about that one time, it is sooooo interesting). But my 18.25 train to Antwerp was late, announced with a probable delay of five minutes. Ten minutes later, and still no train in sight. Another one came, the local train that also stops in Antwerp, after halting every three minutes and five kilometres, whenever the train driver spots a group of people and/or bovines. So since my train could arrive any minute, I decided to let that one go without me.

Of course, my train never came. But no problem, another train to Antwerp was about to arrive. Except that the announcer announced the announcement that the train had a probable delay of ten minutes. Note how they always use the word ‘probable’, which more often than not means ‘probably not’ or ‘much more than’. By the time this train had arrived, I almost wasn’t capable to board it, since my body was half frozen.

So it was with an exact (not probable) delay of an hour that I arrived in Antwerp Central Station. Naturally, I had forgotten my mobile phone that day, so no way to inform my loved one about my troubles and whereabouts.

I descended towards the subway station underneath Central Station, where I discovered that all trams (Antwerp’s subway system is a bit more modest than Brussels’, it’s more of an underground tram than a real subway) were blocked. A defect tramcar blocked the tunnels, so we had to wait until it was removed. After then minutes, we saw it pass by, pulled along by a maintenance tram. When my tram finally did arrive, one of its doors stopped just in front of me. It didn’t open and only then did I notice the sticker saying that these doors were out of order.

I was too tired to get into a superhuman rage, tearing the tram apart and bashing my fists trough the subway station’s walls until it collapsed and the whole Central Station above it. A moment later, I was all happy again, thanks to the guy standing next to me who smelled so much of alcohol that I got drunk on the spot.

So all’s well that ends well.

Posted by Bart at 11:59 PM
Categories: Public Transport Pains

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