Next Stop: Not Westport!

The other day, a Metro-North train blew past its scheduled 8:04 p.m. stop in Westport. A few dozen riders had to get off in Fairfield, then wait for the next westbound train to go home.

If you were on that train, you were probably pretty pissed.

If you’re a regular on Railroad.net, you’re upset too.

But some of the commenters there — a website for train geeks — are not mad  at Metro-North.

They blame the victims: Westporters.

Noel Weaver writes:

A train blew a station stop, SO WHAT!!!! It is not the first time and it won’t be the last time. I suspect if it had been say Fordham on an evening train instead of Westport nothing would have been said…

I blew a couple of stops in my career and in both cases nothing further came of it. I am human like everybody else.

Another commenter (“Rear of Signal”) chimes in:

This happens often enough that it’s not unheard of, but still rare. You know how often trains blow Yankee Stadium, or FF-Metro or even blown Stamford?

This one makes the news because some influential people call the local media in a hypocritical attempt to negate their own vanity. Everyone needs to get off of their moral high-horse and get on with their lives.

A train crew blew past Westport earlier this month.

Not all the commenters are so black-and-white. (Or as harsh as those who demand the entire crew on that train be fired.)

“Secaucus Junction” says:

You know, if I was an engineer, I think this sort of thing would happen to me too. It’s got to be confusing out there remembering which stops you are supposed to make when you are on different trains all the time. Maybe a simple brain fart by the engineer.

Which brought this response:

It’s pretty hard to miss Westport. The track speed in the station is only 40 MPH. Both the engineer and conductor are responsible for ensuring that trains stop where they’re supposed to. But, do we know if the train was on a platform track? Or, could it have been misrouted? I’m sure (Metro-North) will investigate this incident, especially since it has hit the newspapers.

And this:

I was on that train. Leaving South Norwalk, conductor announced “Westport next.” We blew through Westport without the slightest speed reduction. No announcements, no attempt to stop in Greens Farm or Southport.

Maybe the train got hijacked?

At Fairfield the was almost a riot when we finally stopped. We were told that the next train back to Westport would be in 45 minutes. Nothing further, no apology, no real acknowledgment of a serious screw-up….

This was completely inexcusable. The fact that the train crew kinda sorta pretended it didn’t happen makes it worse.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I don’t work in the field so I don’t know what it’s like. Whatever. MNRR has a problem.

Part of that problem, it seems, is that a few employees don’t think too highly of their customers.

14 responses to “Next Stop: Not Westport!

  1. Back years ago several of my friends would “fall asleep” also called “pass out” and miss the stop in Westport. Many wives had to drive up to the last stop in New Haven and pick up their hubby. That’s why men don’t like to miss the stop! It brings back memories.

  2. Westport Convert

    Or maybe it’s because Metro-North is an incompetent waste of money, management, and transportation. They are up there with Time Warner and Connecticut Light & Power.

    I wish someone would come in and clean house. Start over. It will not fix all of the delays – as that would take a brand new system – but it will at least be a fresh start. Metro North is a complete joke and the Executives should be ashamed of the quality of their “work.”

    WC

  3. I find the defensiveness of the railroad geeks to be laughable, but equally absurd is to call Metro North a “complete joke.” All things considered it’s a safe, functional and efficient system. Not cheap and certainly has its flaws but beats driving I-95 every day of the week.

  4. “A hypocritical attempt to negate their own vanity” … what is that even supposed to mean?.

  5. And who runs this railroad? Enough said. The employees and management have no incentive to provide adequate service or to care about the customers; their jobs will be there no matter how bad the service.

  6. Just like the teachers unions. A corrupt group protecting the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  7. If you don’t like it – Drive !!

  8. The numbers of times the train has made a ‘special stop’ in Greens Farms for those Westporters who got on the train that does not stop in Greens Farms should outweigh this one missed stop (and every one of the few times the train has missed Saugatuck). The crew never complains when that happens and is always happy to help passengers out.

  9. I’ve been a commuter for 28 years. Way back, there were a few conductors who announced our stop as, follows:
    “Next station stop is Westport, beautiful Westport.”

    That ceased when, no doubt, residents of other towns complained.

    • Now the new trains make 4 annoyingly loud computer-generated announcements PER station.

      “BING BONG…..The next stop is Westport”

      “BING BONG…..Asyou step off the train, please watch the gap between the train and the platform”

  10. I take the train daily and frankly, I’m shocked that MetroNorth is as well run as it is. Almost without exception, the train arrives on time in the morning and gets me home on time in the evening. A variance of more than a few minutes is extremely infrequent. Driving could take about the same time, or more frequently it would take twice as long… entirely unpredictable. And gas and parking would be much more than my ticket, and deprive me of valuable sleeping and reading time. My ride on the subway is far more unreliable (and barbaric) than my ride on MetroNorth.

    Human errors are infrequent, it’s more typically equipment failures. The real issue is that having a modern train system isn’t a priority in America, even in the NY Metro area. Visitors from Europe, Japan, even China laugh at our antiquated 1970s train cars. Even still, the MetroNorth mechanics still do a wonderful job keeping this ancient equipment surprisingly reliable. This missed train stop issue seems to be the old case of everyone complaining when something goes wrong, but no one ever mentioning when something goes right. And the fact remains that MetroNorth does great job with what they have to work with. If anyone is to blame, it is politicians and urban planners, who do not make modern rail travel a priority, even in the densely populated Northeast.