Slow Streaker

The train was packed with college students form New England on the Amtrak Montrealer when one of them decided to become a streaker. As the train approached Stamford, Connecticut, the streaker made his move. Bad decision…The conductor, on old chap nicknamed “Chisel Chin” failed to see the humor and grabbed the young man. He was ejected from the train on the platform in Stamford, minus his clothes and his dignity. A commuter was kind enough to lend him a coat for his free ride to the Stamford police station.
I know this story is true, because I was the engineer…
Submitted by A. Pierce Haviland, Jr.

Post Parting Porter Blues

The following story has been submitted in various forms and variations by numerous people. When taking all the variables into consideration, the following is the most accurate and probable account of a traveling salesman’s bad day.

When Brian boarded the westbound VIA Rail train in Regina, situated in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, he made a point of talking to the porter.

“Mr. Porter”, Brian explained, “I have a very very important business meeting first thing in the morning in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Your train is scheduled to arrive there at 4 a.m. It is absolutely essential that you wake me up. I might as well tell you that I’m a night person, I hate mornings, especially when I get woken up. I will probably be very grouchy, uncooperative, wanting to roll over and all that, but, as I said, please make sure I get off the train in Medicine Hat, no matter what. Just to show you how serious this is, here is 50 Dollars for your trouble.”

“Yes, sir,” replied the porter, “I’ll make sure you get off, trust me.”

The next morning Brian woke up when the train came to a stop. He came to all his senses very quickly when he realized it was light outside. Checking his watch, he was stunned to realize it was 8 a.m., and when he saw the “Calgary” sign he knew he was in big trouble.

Brian was very angry as he was getting dressed. Gathering all his belongings he stormed out of the train to find the porter calmly standing on the platform chatting with the conductor. Furiously, he yelled and cursed at them before walking away.

“My goodness,” gasped the conductor, “that man was sure ticked off!”

“Oh, that’s nothing,” replied the porter, “the guy I put off at Medicine Hat early this morning was worse.”

Logical Strategy

Hans-Petter Lyshaug, Marketing consultant for Oslo Sporveier tells a classic story from Norway.

Oslo classic tram Car Rentals, which ended service in 1968, had identical driver cabins in both directions. On the roof they had destination “cubes” with four possible destination signs. At the end of the line the cubes were turned.

Tramline 11, from Majorstuen to Kjelsas, has a rather steep hill to climb before arriving at Kjelsas. In the fifties, one of the many tram Car Rentals climbing up this hill was a training vehicle. Aboard were one student and his instructor. The student was concentrating in climbing the steep hill as well as he could. At the steepest point the instructor thought this might be a good time to ask a question.

“What would you do if your brakes failed right now and we start rolling backward?” Quickly, the student replied: “Turn the destination sign to Majorstuen?”

Man Overboard!

Lennart Wärje of Helsingborg, Sweden provided the following story about a small commuter railway in his neighborhood which was closed down in 1971.

The line had been troubled with all kinds of technical and human problems for years. On this particular day, the engineer of the 2-car train realized midway through his shift that the conductor had gone missing. Fearing he might have fallen overboard, he told his bewildered passengers to get into the second car which he parked on a side rail. He then drove the first car slowly back along the line. Extremely worried about his colleague, he carefully surveyed the track and its surroundings. After about 30 minutes he had doubled back to the last station. To his great relief he found out the conductor had been left behind at this stop, but, after a lot of swearing and cursing, had taken a taxi to the next station in order to catch up.

The engineer, in the meantime, quickly raced back to his passengers, connected it back to the engine, and proceeded to the next station. By the time they got there, the conductor had given up waiting for the train, assuming that it had gone back to the station where he was left behind.

Another wild taxi ride back to the first station did not bring a solution to their problems either, because by the time he got there, the engine had already left.

Waiting at the next station, a passenger had the idea to use the phone to the first station where the conductor had given up on any further ideas. Luckily, they finally connected and were able to tell him where the train was. One more taxi trip, and the engineer, the conductor and some not so happy passengers were re-united.

Needless to say, the company was slightly miffed to find out why the train was delayed for several hours, especially since the resourceful passenger who had the idea to use the phone, had also phoned the newspapers with the story.

If you think that the above story is unique, please read on…

We had an instance where the motorman of an automated Washington, D.C., Metro train was left behind on the platform while the train proceeded on its way, making each station stop, but not opening doors, because that’s the motorman’s job. The passengers could not get into the motorman’s cabin to stop the train or open the doors when it stopped at stations. The train eventually came to end of the line and stopped. Someone entered cab from platform and opened the doors.

This incident was the result of an incorrectly engineered ATO system. A manned train should never restart without positive action by the driver.

We had a similar incident in London. The driver of a train got out of his cab without securing the train and disabling the ATO. He had tried to close the doors but one was stuck half-closed. He started to walk down the platform to close it but a passenger saw the problem and pushed it closed. As soon as the door detection circuit was completed the train started.

The driver, seeing his livelihood departing northbound towards the next station, waited for the next train (3 minutes) and told the driver

“Follow that train!”

Meanwhile his own train had reached the next station and stopped automatically. The doors didn’t open and, as the LU system is designed only to allow the train to restart when the driver presses two buttons, it remained there to await its driver.

The driver of the following train took it up to the rear of the waiting train and allowed its driver to clamber onto the platform. He dashed down to the front of his train, opened the doors, apologized to the passengers for “technical problems” and then continued the trip as normal.

Train Trouble

I left Chicago on the Southwest Chief on Nov. 1st. We were early into Kansas City and we were about 1 hour late into Albuquerque. The Eastbound was about 1 hour late as we met them after we left Lamy. There was a problem with an eastbound BNSF freight and we lost 2 hours waiting for 5 eastbound freights to pass us before we could get around the train.
The Chief had a coach with the lower level smoking lounge. There was a pretty good group of people using the lounge except for 1 crazy lady from Philly. At Flagstaff, 3 young men and 1 young lady, all who had brought their own “drinks” and “personal smokes” with them, decided to get off to do whatever. I told them that although we have a 5 minute stop, we may try to get out of town early as we were still about 2 hours late. There was still 5 people in the lounge. While waiting to leave we heard someone bang on the outside of the windows and then wave to us.

We started to pull out and passed a car stuck in the grade crossing waiting for us to leave. After we had gone about 200 yards we heard an announcement over the train’s P. A. System by a car attendant, “There is a passenger hanging on to the outside of the train. Will the conductor please stop the train.”

We all looked at each other as we didn’t know if it was our 4 friends who went outside for a breather. We then heard what sounded like an elephant above us running toward the lounge car. We later found out it was the car attendant we called “Drill Sargent Major” because of the way he yelled at us and some of the other passengers (We later found out that he is not allowed to work the Coast Starlight anymore because of his attitude). The train got underway again and we waited to see if the incident involved our friends. About 20 minutes later 1 of our friends came back to the lounge and we asked him what happened?

He said that he was making a phone call to his mother and before he got connected someone told him the train was leaving. He said he ran to the train and saw his other 3 friends in the lower level of the snack lounge car and he started waving and yelling to them. He then grabbed the side stanchions and door handle on the lounge car’s door (these are regular doors like all other Super liners) and tried to open the lower door handle. He also said that he almost fell off because there is no stirrup or door sill on super liner Car Rentals!!! For the rest of the trip every time somebody came into the lounge they asked about the “funny announcement that woke them up.” We never stopped laughing.
We were about 2 hours late leaving Barstow and we got slow orders because of signal work at the bottom of Cajon Pass.

About 20 people were booked on the Thruway Connection from LAX to Las Vegas that was due out at 9:45 A.M. and another 20 or so persons were booked on the Coast Starlight. As we were running late we would have arrived in LAX about 11:00 A.M. When we got to San Bernardino Station, the Station Agent had a message from the dispatcher for the train Conductor that all passengers for Las Vegas and the Coast Starlight above Santa Barbara were to detrain at San Bernardino and claim there luggage and get on busses there. This took more time because the passengers were not ready to get off and then their baggage had to be found and taken off the train.

Passengers for points on the South San Diego Line got off at Fullerton as planned. Another passenger got off to make a phone call. He almost missed the train but our car attendant was slow in closing our door as the train left and the passenger was able to get aboard. The car attendant got reamed really by the conductor for leaving his door open after the train left. The conductor was not aware of the Flagstaff incident.

The Santa Barbara train which was behind us passed us near the BNSF Yards and beat us into LAX. As we had 4 engines and 6 mail Car Rentals we had to back into LAX. The Santa Barbara train was waiting for us to clear the diamond on it’s way out of town. It did NOT wait for any connecting passenger who now had to wait for the early afternoon train to Santa Barbara.


Dave Snowden


Seventy-five per cent of women in Seoul, Korea, who responded to a recent questionnaire on the issue of groping in subways indicated that they had indeed been victims of ‘gropers’.

Violent crimes are rare in South Korea, but groping in different forms, like a man rubbing up against women or thrusting their hand under clothing are common on crowded subways or buses.

Ninety-eight percent of respondents suggested that anti-groping signs might be a positive step. To this end signs were erected warning patrons to refrain from ‘unpleasant acts of repulsive behaviour toward other passengers’. Spitting and smoking were not on the agenda.

Leap of Life

A story of exceptional bravery took place on October 20th, 1993 when Trainman Merv Peever (63) literally laid his life on the line.

Sandra Campbell had just finished a round of shopping when she pulled her van into her driveway near Stoner, BC, Canada. Her four children, Jory (6), Alden (5), Keely (3) and Bevin (7 months) had accompanied her on the trip. Just before entering her long driveway she hit a pothole and some groceries spilled out of the window. She decided to let the children off at the house first before climbing back behind the wheel. Bevin was sleeping in her car seat.

“I’ll be right back,” she instructed the children. “I’m just going to pick up the groceries.”

After her return to the house she had a strange feeling that things were quieter than normal. “Keely, Keely, where are you?” she called. Getting increasingly worried she raced from room to room to find Keely. A knot of fear formed in her stomach when she realized that Keely was not in the house. Jory and Alden finally told her that Keely had run away from them at the moment Sandra was retrieving her groceries.

First she checked with all the neighbours, but everybody seemed to be at work around 2 P.M. She decided to call her husband Brock at work.

“I’ll be right there, call 9-1-1!” was his response.

Engine 4619 slowly began moving away from the Prince George yard to begin the journey to Vancouver. Peevers partner was Ron Anderson (61) who, together with his partner, had made this trip many times before. Slightly delayed by some technical problems, the train pulled out 25 minutes late.

Keely had decided to follow the train tracks toward Prince George because she knew that Daddy worked there, and not having heard her mom’s explanation for leaving so quickly after arriving at their home, she assumed that’s where mommy must have gone too.

Peever and Anderson were just about to enjoy some fresh coffee when the overhead speaker came to life.

“Engine 4619, be advised that we have a report of a three year old girl who is lost somewhere between Stoner and Red Rock. Would you mind having a good look around?”

Knowing every farm and ranch along the way, both knew which ones had kids. “We are going to slow down to about 10 – 12 miles per hour for a while,” the engineer spoke into his hand set, having a gut feeling that could not be explained. Slowly making its way through Red Rock the alert train crew noticed nothing unusual. Anderson applied several pounds of air to the brakes of the 61 car train. This way the brakes would be warm and reduce the stopping distance if it became necessary. Merv could only think about this child who was the same age as some of his grandchildren.

Keely, in the meantime, was getting very tired of walking in her stockinged feet. The rocks of the rail bed were cutting into her flesh making progress very slow and painful. She decided to take a nap and rested her head on the oil-stained ties spanning the steel rails.

Engine 4619 had passed the place where the child was last seen. They couldn’t imagine that the little girl had crossed over the highway bridge. Anderson resisted the urge to resume to a normal speed. As the train rounded a slow curve, they spotted something on the track ahead.

“There she is!” both men yelled at the same time.

Anderson quickly reached up and pulled the emergency stop locking hundreds of wheel brakes. At the same time he blasted the horn over and over. They knew that it would take at least 300 feet to stop even at the slow speed they were travelling at. When they had spotted Keely they were only about 200 feet from her. They watched as she stumbled to her feet, climbed to the outside of the rail and sqatted down right next to the track.

Merv Peever did not waste any time. He bolted down the steps and opened the door leading to the front of the engine.

He would have to leap ahead of the train, somehow grab her and throw the child and himself clear of the train. Stumbling would mean certain death. The deafening noise of hundreds of wheels trying to tame the iron monster failed to distract Peever’s concentration. He knew he only had one chance to save Keely’s life.

When he felt the time was right he jumped from the staircase and lunged ahead of the train. As the child turned toward him he could see the terrified expression in her eyes. She jumped onto her feet, but was still too close to the rails. Peever only had time for two strides. As Anderson leaned out of the side window he saw Peever’s arm reach for Keely, who, oblivious to the roar of the 4000-horsepower engine and the friction noise of the grinding steel, only thought about his outstretched hand and his target. Hitting the edge of the rail bed with his face first, he rolled and reached up at the same time. He could feel Keely. While rolling down the embankment he grabbed Keely by the top of her sweatshirt and pulled with all his might. As he rolled he lost his grip and saw Anderson’s face rush by him in the window of the engine. He turned back toward Keely who he managed to pull away from the train but not down the embankment. As she sat on her haunches a few inches away from the track there was a dull thud, and the child’s head jerked forward as one of the engine’s fueltanks struck her.

Scrambling up the embankment against the loose rocks he clawed his way toward Keely. He finally reached her and grasped her in his arms turning away from the screeching train.
Keely’s hands and feet were like ice and there was a warm trickle of blood oozing from her head.

The train came to a stop and Anderson rushed down. Peever had been afraid to look at the girl until now. Dirt and oil had mixed with the blood of Keely’s face. Then Merv Peever and Ron Anderson were treated to the most beautiful words they had ever heard.

“I want my Mommy!” They stood in silence, shaking from the ordeal.

“You did it, buddy, you did it! By God you did it!” Peever turned away crying as he tanked God for his miracle. “This is 4619. Lost child found. Besides a small cut behind her ear she is just fine,” Anderson reported a short while later. When they reached Stoner crossing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was waiting. Constable Ken Brissard congratulated the two. “This turned out good,” he said.

On October 29th, BC Rail held its annual dinner in Prince George where Peever and Anderson were honoured. The Campbells had been invited because they wanted to express their graditude.

Sandra’s eyes told all when she looked into Peever’s eyes. They reached out toward each other and embraced as if they were long lost friends. There was no dry eye to be found in the room of over 200 people who stood up cheering and clapping. Keely buried her face into her father’s shoulder. She wasn’t so sure about “that man who hit me”.

“Miracles happen because we still believe,” said Peever after accepting a plaque honouring his brave deed. “There were angels with Keely. That’s why she is alive today.”
Merv Peever was awarded the Medal of Bravery by Governor-General Raymond Hnatyshyn.

The Young Conductor

A mother was working in the kitchen listening to her son playing with his new electric train in the living room.

She heard the train stop and her son said: “All of you sons of bitches who want to get off, get the hell off now, cause this is the last stop! And all you sons of bitches who are returning and want to get on, get your asses on the train now, cause we’re going down the tracks!”

The mother went into the living room and said to her son: “We don’t use that kind of language in this house. Now go to your room and stay there for two hours. When you come out, you may go back and play with your train, but only if you use acceptable language.”

Two hours later, the boy came out of the bedroom and resumed playing with his train. Soon the train stopped and the mother heard her son say:

“All passengers who are disembarking the train, please remember to take all of your belongings with you. We thank you for riding with us today and hope your trip was a pleasant one. We hope you will ride with us again soon.”

With an approving smile on her face she listens attentively.

“For those of you just boarding, we ask you to stow all of your hand luggage under your seat. Remember, there is no smoking on the train. We hope you will have a pleasant and relaxing journey with us today.”

“And for those of you who are pissed off about the TWO HOUR delay, see the bitch in the kitchen.”

(Submitted by Henri Bouwens)

Muscle Train

When a Swedish commuter train came to a halt after an electricity blackout on the tracks, determined passengers jumped from their seats and pushed the train until it started again.

“Well yes, it was quite heavy in the beginning, but once we gathered some speed it went great”, passenger Carina Stridh told the Vestermanlands Laens Tidning Newspaper.

Faster than a Sleeping Bullet

The driver of a bullet train in Japan is under investigation after falling asleep for nearly ten minutes at the helm. The train was travelling at 170mph with 800 passengers on board.

No one was hurt in the incident because the train was on autopilot at the time.

A spokesman for West Japan Railway, the operating company, said they were investigating why the driver fell asleep. “We are very shocked,” said Kosuke Sugiyama. “Our business is all about passengers trusting us enough to travel on our trains.”

Railway staff became suspicious when the train pulled into Okayama station, about 90 miles east of Hiroshima. It came to a halt about 100 metres before it was supposed to, leaving rear carriages outside the station.

They inspected the driver’s car and found him asleep in his chair, according to a source at West Japan Railway. Staff knocked on the window but he continued to sleep. Eventually the conductor went inside the compartment and woke him up.

The driver, 33, told his superiors that he “had no memory” of what happened for a period of about eight minutes until he woke up.

A West Japan Railway spokesman said the driver had plenty of sleep and had not been drinking alcohol.

Police said the driver was under investigation for possible violations of the railway law and for causing danger due to professional negligence while driving.

Mr Sugiyama said this was the first time on record that someone had fallen asleep while driving a bullet train. Drivers normally take over and steer the train manually in the final stretch to a station.

Tube Announcements

–Going Underground News Update– (http://www.goingunderground.net)

“I was at Mill Hill East the other day, a quiet tube station, and the driver of the train said something like: “Hello this is xxx speaking, I am the captain of your train, and we will be departing shortly, we will be cruising at an altitude of approximately zero feet, and our scheduled arrival time in Morden is 3:15pm. The temperature in Morden is approximately 15 degrees celsius, and Morden is in the same time zone as Mill Hill east, so there’s no need to adjust your watches.”

“I was on the Northern line again, and we all got chucked out of the tube because it was broken. Obviously when the next tube came along, we all tried to get on, and there was lots of “Please stand clear of the DOORS” before we could get going. When we finally started moving again, the driver says over the tannoy, “This is a customer announcement, please note that the big slidy things are the doors, the big slidy things are the doors”.

“I heard this on the Northern line recently: “Ladies and gentlemen this train has 22 doors on each side, please feel free to use all of them, not just the two in the middle”.

“On my way down the Northern Line, the train stopped in a tunnel. After a few minutes, the driver’s voice came: “sorry for the delay, but there has been an incident at King’s Cross. Someone has attacked the driver (*big sigh*) 9.15am on a Monday morning and there’s been an incident already. The police have been called. (*Pause*) It’s a good thing I’m not a policeman, because I’d lock them all up for life. (*pause* *lower voice*) either that or shoot them.”

“A friend of a friend (etc..) worked as a station assistant at Warren Street station and one day whilst making a public announcement re busking/begging on London Underground, got the two slightly confused and came up with the following gem: “London Underground would like to remind everyone that buggering is not allowed at any Underground station!”

“On a Northern Line train last week the driver made this announcement…”Due to an overpowering smell of sewage, this train will NOT be stopping at Highgate. I repeat, this train will NOT stop at Highgate”. then, a minute later, “Ladies and gentlemen…this train IS stopping at Highgate, and of course I’m the last to know”

“On the Northern Line, when a teenager had pretended to jump in front of the train, the driver announced: ‘you should have done it mate, it might have knocked some sense into you’.

“My friend was waiting the other night for the Northern Line when the tannoy burst into life with the following, which I think sums up British understatement: “When the gentleman urinating on Platform 3 has finished, would he ask the attendant for a mop and bucket. Thank you”.


The Associated Press October 31, 2003, 7:29 AM EST

A man’s arm got stuck in the toilet of a commuter train when he tried to fish out his dropped cell phone — halting his train and sending delays throughout the rail system.
Thousands of commuters were delayed and several trains were rerouted while rescue workers tried to pull him out, a Metro-North Railroad spokesman said Thursday.

Edwin Gallart, 41, of the Bronx, dropped his cell phone in the toilet of his Mount Vernon-bound train shortly after it left Grand Central Terminal during rush hour on Wednesday, Metro-North spokesman Dan Brucker said.

The train was held at the Fordham Station after a passenger heard Gallart’s cries for help.

When train workers failed to pry Gallart’s arm free, police officers and firefighters were called in to blowtorch the stainless steel toilet apart.

In the meantime, all 600 passengers aboard the train had to be put on other trains and all northbound trains had to be rerouted, causing significant delays and thousands of dollars in additional costs for Metro-North, which might seek damages from Gallart, Brucker said.

“We have the option of seeking a recompense of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money that went down the drain along with his cell phone,” Brucker said.

Gallart’s home telephone number was unlisted so he couldn’t be reached for comment. And, of course, he didn’t have his cell phone.

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