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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wrong Way Track

Did you know that trains can take a wrong turn? It happened to me last week, twice.

On the same day.

In the morning, I take a direct train between Antwerp and Brussels. I’ve made this trip thousands of times now, so I could tell immediately something was wrong. Instead of going to Brussels, the locomotive merrily went on his way to Lier, and we had to follow of course, being in the wagons behind. Lier is a nice little historical city, but I really had to go to work to earn my pitiful little wage so I can make my colossal stack of bills a little less high. We stopped, and moments later the conductor informed us that the person at the controls in the signal house had made an error. Apparently, Belgian trains don’t have a reverse so we had to drive all the way to Lier before we could continue our voyage to Brussels via Mechelen.

Thinking this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I went to work and set off to return home in the evening. After our third stop (that thing stops basically at every house in Brussels), we were off again to strange new worlds and civilisations. Or at least we would be if the track wasn’t blocked by a reparation crew and the railroad bridge further ahead wasn’t under reconstruction. This time, a detour was not an option. Luckily, the track went also uphill, so we could roll back to the station as I’d already established earlier that Belgian trains don’t have a reverse. At first, the conductor mumbled an excuse about “stopped due to reparations”, but later he had to admit that it was that – censured – moron again who – censured – can’t – censured – his – censured – and on top of that doesn’t even – censured – and his mother too!

Honestly, if the railroad company keeps allowing students to take the controls during the summer months, it’s only a matter of time before my train has a head-on collision with another one. When that happens, it will probably be a freight train with a 500 tonnes load of steel coils, or a nuclear transport or something.

Posted by Bart at 8:06 PM
Categories: Public Transport Pains


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