That's the longest stretch of time I've ever spent, trapped on a GO train.
It's not a feat I hope to repeat.
In case you have not heard, yesterday's 4:30 pm Union to Oshawa train suffered a heart attack and died 150 metres or so east of the Ajax GO Station.
I was trapped on this train with hundreds of others, who after 40 minutes, soon realized we were in for a clusterbomb of a night when we lost all power. Forty minutes stretched into an hour and I listened as frantic parents made phone calls to relatives and neighbours to arrange for childcare and daycare pickup. One passenger had to go all the way down the list of his daycare backups to the 4th person to rescue his daughter, so a stranger basically -- these were the passengers I felt the most sympathy for.
I had a 5:45 pm dentist appointment that I was able to move to 7:40. In an effort to save myself from the $75 no show fee, I dispatched my husband to take our daughter in my place. She was due soon anyway.
As the delay approached the two hour mark, I realized that any chance I had of being able to cook and prepare for the company potluck the next day was going to be lost, eaten up by time being wasted while waiting for GO Transit to decide what to do about us.
Three hours after we had left Union, we were informed we were going to be pulled into Whitby. We watched as a crew member moved from coach to coach releasing the brakes for each one so we could be towed.
Another half hour passed and with no air circulation for the last 90 minutes, people were growing less patient.... and hot. I kept reminding myself there are worse things in an effort to quell my own growing frustration. I cracked jokes with those around me but not everyone was in a humorous mood. One woman complained loudly, and constantly, about her displeasure.
We watched as rush hour train after rush hour train passed us by. I spent my time engaging others on Twitter and soon learned that a clusterbomb was also unfolding on the Barrie line with all trains holding due to a gas leak.
Through Twitter, I learned that a passenger aboard the 6:00 pm train, fed up that his train hadn't moved for more than 30 minutes, exited that train and prompted a safety investigation. I'm not entirely sure but the result of that stupid move supposedly cancelled that train, and those passengers were forced off and had to squeeze onto another train. Hey, at least they had that option.
I'm at a loss for why it took 3.5 hours to make a decision to push us back into Ajax. First it was a tow. Then it was a push. GO Transit isn't transparent about its policy and procedures for epic meltdowns such as last night. This results in passengers demanding answers only to be met with excuses that the Barrie line required all of GO Transit's resources, and all our crew could do was continue to follow procedure.
I'm sure it was equally frustrating for them.
I don't think we'll get an answer why it took as long as it did to decide we'd be pushed back into Ajax. And that's not acceptable any more. Telling us a full investigation will happen is just more lip service that's become all too common these days.
We deserve better.