Saturday, March 11, 2006

Warning for MBCR travelers...

Do NOT attempt to open up the door at the end of the coach without the permission of the train conductor. As I was approaching my destination at Gloucester, MA today (this happens to be where the film "The Perfect Storm" was set), I got up out of my seat as the train was slowing to a stop at Gloucester Depot, along with a number of other people. There was a college-aged girl standing behind me, waiting to get off the train like me, singing Mariah Carey-like shit to herself (the high-pitched stuff that Mariah can no longer sing since she became ghetto-ish and is doped up on prescription drugs that have affected her voice). So the train stopped, and I saw the conductor in the articulation just behind the window, so when the train was stationary, I opened the door, thinking that the stopped position was a cue to disembark. Well, the door was promptly shut after I began to open it, with the conductor shouting, "STAY BACK...NO STOP HERE". No big deal, right? Well, that was until Ms. Mariah started to laugh at me and exclaim, "haha, you got served..." and continued to laugh as a bunch of other college aged thugs egged her on to make a speactacle out of this. I played along, and when the conductor finally opened the door at our marked destination, he grinned at me and I apologized for my faux pas. After all, the last time I was on a train, I was taking the CalTrain from Menlo Park to San Jose, CA...there, they let anyone open whatever door and stand in the articulations until they can step off (I spent a good portion of one ride from San Francisco to Menlo attempting to find a restroom...I realized I was at a dead end when I could no longer continue into another car and found that I was next to the rumbling engine). I apologized, trying to act cool, and the conductor was nice about it. But that fucking bitch behind me..." got got served, brotha...hahaha".

The ride back was uneventful, except for riding next to this hot couple of guys on their way to a Bruins game at the Garden, paying full attention to this older couple who didn't know how to shut up and told stories to us (including me) on their way from Gloucester to Beverly Depot. They really were loud and entertaining...she looked like a train wreck (sorta like Kyra Sedgwick) and he was some loud-ass northerner who thought he was hot stuff (actually, he was...except that he acted like a friggin' meathead).

The Commuter Rail really is a nice aspect to the aging and ailing MBTA. The MBCR (Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail) operates an efficient train system throughout the eastern half of Massachusetts. It will take passengers from North or South Stations in Boston proper to points as far west as Worcester, south to Providence, RI, and north to Cape Ann, Rockport and Newburyport. I use this system from time to time to take the opportunity to photograph some of New England's most quaint hour ride will take you to the absolutely most picturesque seaside communities in Massachusetts. The fares are decent (at most a $12 round trip), and the trains are failrly comfortable...coaches seating individuals 2-aisle-3 (similarly to Amtrak trains...the coaches are just as wide). The seating is blue and red vinyl...not the plush, modern cloth seating of the CalTrain, but you cannot have everything. The newer coaches feature purple vinyl seating, and trains from South Station are double-decked (since the rails south of Boston can accomodate higher clearances), which is extea fun. The conductors are old-fashioned (annoucing stops with their own cultivated, and trademarked, voice inflections) while passing through the aisles greeting customers in their flat caps and nifty hand punches. Nothing beats the scenery along the MBCR, however.

After riding a few different commuter rail systems in the US, I still feel that the MBCR will forever hold a special place in my heart for its efficiency (at least during non-peak hours), its interesting clientele (always a great place for people-watching), and its ability to maintain an old-fashioned manner of doing business ("welcome tickets? Next stop Bevalee Depooooooooooo").


Blogger Ben said...

I see that John's post inspired you. I agree that the MBCR has character.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

I was smashed when I posted that. Perhaps I'm that much more expressive after some scotch.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MBCR stinks, lousy management and hot sticky late trains. Amtrak please come back.


11:13 AM  

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