The Third Car

At 4:05 this afternoon, I received a text alert from Sound Transit: “Link light rail service is temporarily interrupted due to a Link-involved accident.”

It was surprisingly detailed. I’m used to Metro’s vague alerts, informing me of “an incident” or something. Then again, it didn’t say where the accident was. Would it effect my commute?

I considered taking the 47 bus home.

Then, at 4:15, there was another text alert: “Link service is temporarily not serving the northbound platform at Columbia City Stn. Use the southbound platform.”

The accident was down south, but it seemed like the trains were moving. I would have liked to be there to see the trains switching over to the wrong side of the platform. It would have been fascinating to me.

I was impressed that the system allows for work-arounds like that.

I decided to take light rail home.

The northbound platform at Pioneer Square Station was jam-packed with people. The southbound platform was busier than usual, too, but not as much. Of course: The accident had caused havoc with the schedule. Somehow, I hadn’t thought of the full impact.

I decided to stay and see the story played out.

Lots of buses moved through the tunnel, but I saw only Link train, heading south. The first two cars were packed, while the third was spacious.

At 4:33, I received a third text alert: “Link light rail has resumed normal operation at all stations with service delays.”

(I was impressed that I was able to receive a text message down in the tunnel.)

A moment or two later, the same message, audio and visual, displayed in the tunnel.

Several minutes later, a northbound 3-car train arrived. The first two cars were packed. There were vacant seats in the third car. I took a seat in the third car.

We stayed at the station, with the doors open, a little bit longer than usual. The train operator’s voice sounded over the speakers: “There is more room in the third car.” The same announcement was made at University Street and Westlake stations.

When we left Westlake Station, the third car was packed.

Of course, being in the third car meant that I was farthest away from the escalator to Broadway and John. I opted for the closer, less crowded, but farther away from home, escalator to Denny Way.

And I made it home.

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