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The Red Line was telling people not to take the Red Line but to go North Station and walk. So I did.

Between Porter Square, Cambridge, and North Station, Boston, the young conductor sat down near me. I said, “How’s it been going for you?”

He said it’s OK, but he doesn’t like it when passengers start screaming at him like it’s all his fault. He said one day the train had to stop because snow was packed around a switch, and a passenger was angry with him. He got out in the snow, came back with snow up to his chest, and said, “I cleared the switch.”

He wishes passengers could take the same two-month class he took before he started. They would be amazed about all the rules and regulations. Our route passes through three track jurisdictions (I think he said three, maybe more.) At each one, the engineer has to ask permission to pass, and he has to write down the interaction in a book. Sometimes he asks the conductor to come help.

The conductor pointed out a light low down in the snow-covered track. Someone had dug it out. He told me that if the engineer can’t see a track light, he is obliged to treat it as malfunctioning and just stop.

I asked how long the conductor had worked for the system. He said he started New Year’s Eve. It’s been a real trial by ice. But he says he thinks it will get better and he actually likes it. I told him most passengers don’t blame the conductor for snow or aging train equipment.

The walk to work took longer than it should as the sidewalks were not equally clear. Charles Schwab did a lovely job with its sidewalk. Fidelity not so much. I’m thinking of switching my account.

Railroad track near my home.

012715-train-track-in-snow

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