Thursday, December 25, 2008


Wednesday morning I was off to work as usual. The bus was not as crowded as would normally be the case on a weekday morning. The students that would be on were off for two weeks. When I got to Braid SkyTrain Station, I took the escalator up to the platform to catch the train into Vancouver but found a two car train waiting. People were getting on but that train was packed. Then I saw another train with the usual number of cars sitting outside the station waiting for this "short" one to leave. I got on the second train when it entered the station. The ride into town went well and the train was less crowded than would normally be the case.

Now the SkyTrain system had been experiencing delays because of the snow and cold weather. It had snowed again overnight and was snowing all day Wednesday. Later in the afternoon I check the website at work to find that a tree had fallen on the eastbound track between Nanaimo and 29th Street Stations bringing traffic in both directions to a halt. It would be hours before the debris was removed from the tracks. Then there was a problem with frozen switches. Trains had been kept running during the previous night to minimize these issues.

When it came time to leave work and head home, the system was still experiencing delays. I got up to the train platform to find it filled with people and the eastbound train full. I got on but learned that the train had been sitting there for over an hour. So, I went back downstairs to see if I could catch a bus to Metrotown and then proceed in some fashion from there. The buses were arriving full, packed to the doors, and not even my route (I was looking for the 19 bus). That was a waste of time, so I went back to the platform to get on the train taking my chances. The train left some minutes later with me on it but by the time it did leave, it had been at the station for an hour and a half. The debris from the tree had finally been removed allowing the backed up system to function again. From there it was smooth and without incident. I got off at 22nd Street to catch the 154 bus further into New Westminster. The bus arrived some minutes after arriving at the station and I got home faster than if I had taken the usual route. Despite the weather and the problems with the SkyTrain system, I still managed to arrive at work and return home without too many problems. Others were not so fortunate but such is life!

I read in the paper Tuesday that a manager had misread the instructions left for him, so a truck was not sent out to de-ice the overhead trolley wires in Vancouver. Needless-to-say, only a small fraction of trolley actually went into service and diesel buses were brought in to pick up the slack. Extra trains were put in service to handle the larger crowd expected. I encountered some unhappy people coming into work who had to walk because their trolley buses were not running. Its amazing how one action, or lack of one, can have a domino effect to negatively effect others throughout a city. Did everyone learn something that day? I hope so!

So, here it is Christmas Day with a "winter wonderland" waiting for me outside. Now that I've had breakfast, I'll get dressed and go for a walk with camera in hand. Expect a post with a few lovely photos later today. Meantime, Merry Christmas! Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

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