Riders this past week: 8,821
Rider miles this past week: 96,566
DOWN IN THE TUBE
Wall Street’s Steve Rattner, developer Bruce Ratner and Dan’s Papers founder Dan Rattiner were seen talking to one another about something on the subway heading from Amagansett to East Hampton last week.
COMPUTERIZED MESSAGE SCREENS COMING
On many subway platforms in the New York Subway system there are computerized message screens, which tell you when the next train is coming. It could read “6 TRAIN CITY HALL IN 6 MINUTES.” Then, two minutes later it says “4 MINUTES.” Four minutes later the 6 pulls into the station. This is a great boon to New York City subway riders.
Commissioner Aspinall has become intrigued by this and is determined to bring such message screens to Hamptons Subway. Last week, he sent Hamptons Subway’s software expert Gladys Gooding to Manhattan to look over how they do it, and she saw the messages on the Lexington Line, then went to subway HQ. After just one day, however, she got very upset and came home to tell the Commissioner that she couldn’t figure it out because it’s just too complicated. The Commissioner has already ordered 18 of these screens and they should be here by next Friday. Somehow, we will figure it out. This is the 21st Century after all.
As everybody knows by now, last Friday was one of the worst days at Hamptons Subway. The system was shut down from morning to night to deal with a very dangerous situation, a runaway train circling the system. Various attempts were made to stop it, none worked, and it just kept going. The problem began in the Montauk yard at 8:40 a.m. when a five-car subway train being washed somehow lurched into forward gear and headed out toward Amagansett and East Hampton with nobody at the wheel. It was soon holding a steady 42 miles an hour along the Napeague stretch, the fastest it could go. Phone calls were instantly made to the subway trains further up the line who were each told to let off all passengers at the next station they came to and then head onto sidings to avoid being crashed into. There are six trains on the system at all times. Five trains complied, but a sixth, just leaving Southampton heading west, failed to get the message. The runaway went through East Hampton, Bridgehampton and Southampton, while the train ahead of it fled further along, with all still on board. Neither train stopped for the next nine hours as both trains went around and around the full 60-mile circuit. The motorman on the passenger train at this point said he was too fearful to stop. Attempts were made at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. by workers to leap on board the runaway, but both efforts failed. At 6 p.m., a grating was removed on the sidewalk above Montauk Highway in Water Mill and a worker tried to ease himself down, but the train was going too fast. More success occurred when volunteers at Noyack passed sandwiches through open windows of the train being chased as it came through.
Finally, at 8 p.m., the motorman of the full train, having found he was slightly faster than the runaway, had pulled up behind the runaway, and, able to see it, found the courage to stop at the next station and let everybody off, then rush off to a siding.
What a night. The runaway finally stopped when it ran out of gas. Calculations were made showing the train gets 11.3 miles a gallon, which we had not known before.
COMMISSIONER ASPINALL’S MESSAGE
See these gray hairs? Anybody else want this job?? If they do they can have it.