Saturday, April 29, 2006

Clogging The Airways

One of Metro North's design features that we've seen on some previous New Haven line trains is the lighting grid. A fantastic feature to attract, trap and then release into the lungs of a commuter, lots of tiny dust particles.

Yesterday's 5.01 pm evening ride on car #8718 had one of the thickest concentrations of particles I have seen. So thick that the grid was covered in places.

The pics tell the story (double click to enlarge).

Dancing on Mr. Clean's Grave

After a few days off from riding the rails and my regular morning schedule, yesterday I was once again on a New Haven line inbound to Grand Central for 8:25am.

The track? 20
The garbage condition at the rear of the train? horrible

After previous posts hoping that the Metro North scheduling wizards would get more garbage cans to the rear of the track 20/21 platform, what did we find? No new cans and no Newspaper recycling bin. Dozens of commuters getting off the train with papers to recycle - doing the right thing. Metro North creating a mess and potential liability should a commuter slip and trip on the mess - doing the wrong thing.

Yesterday's pics (double click to enlarge):
  1. What's that near the end of the platform?
  2. Typical 2 cans with gap for missing Newspaper bin
  3. All the newspapers indicate commuters want to recycle
  4. What a mess
  5. Hoping no one slips
  6. Mr. Clean's nemesis

Don't Mind My Hair

The evidence of Metro North design shortcomings on the New Haven line trains just keeps rolling in... the latest area from Thursday's ride? Seat design.

For some reason, the Metro North design gurus decided to put a short seat as the aisle seat on the 3 side of the 2-3 configurations on the New Haven line. Perhaps it was to make it easier for a seated passenger to see up the aisle. It wasn't for the conductors since they're standing.

The outcome of a short seat? For the passenger in that seat it makes it harder to rest as your head is either hanging over or you need to slide ass forward until your feet prop up on the seat in front. For the commuter behind? You get someone's unwashed hair draping over your lap and another reason to take Purell with you on Metro North.

Thursday morning's pics from car #8809:
  1. Wonderful design
  2. Not going to touch that seat
  3. Wishing for new high back seats

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Tripping On The Way To Catching The Bouquet

MTA Metro North's Mileposts communication to customers in April confirms what we all know. That beaten down equipment on the New Haven line can't turn in on time performance like those new trains riding the other lines.

The April Mileposts of February 2006 data did show that the New Haven line broke it's January 2006 consistent ranking of last place in every possible metric.

How did the New Haven line do for February ? Still not catching the bouquet.
  • Last in AM performance? New Haven.
  • Last in PM performance? New Haven.
  • Last in Off-peak weekday performance? New Haven.
  • Last in Off-peak weekend performance? Harlem. Harlem? by 0.7%
  • Last overall? New Haven.
Today's pic is a scan from the back of the April 2006 Milepost.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Decorating With Duct Tape #4

Just when you thought that Metro North ran out of areas on its train cars to duct tape, the commuter once again is surprised. Tonight while riding home on car #8554, I got to add the plastic seat frame to earlier Metro North duct tape design projects of ceilings, doors, seats, and floors. What is left? Can they duct tape a window?

Tonight's pics (click to enlarge):
  1. What's that on the side of the seat?
  2. Check out the glare
  3. The Duct Tape looks like aluminum foil in my toaster
  4. Standard seating across the aisle

The Sky Is Falling! ... Again?

Yesterday, while travelling through the 48th street and Park Avenue bunker, the commuter had to once again brave walking under exposed piping and ceilings with no barriers. The only thing roped off was the scaffolding... protect commuters from walking where they can't walk anyhow. Well done.

Does Metro North need to be giving remedial courses on barrier placement?

Yesterday's pics (click to enlarge):
  1. Check out the gap - no barriers
  2. Look out above
  3. More commuters under the gap
  4. Plenty of piping up there
  5. Couldn't they have extended the barrier?
  6. Let's protect the scaffolding

Driving Me To Drink

What's next? Ads for cigarettes? On Tuesday morning while riding car #8430... an entire car covered with green Heineken beer bottles. I might feel better if it was ads for Guiness.

The pics:
  1. View look down the car - 20 ads in one car?
  2. At an angle
  3. Looking back
  4. Close up

Bed Time

On Monday night while riding home on car #8802, I once again got to experience that fine Metro North Railroad engineering and design that has trains riding the rails with no interior lights but the emergency lights by the door. Check out the guy doing his crossword by hanging into the aisle. At least it was a quiet ride.

Monday's pics:
  1. Vestibule lights on
  2. Interior lights out
  3. View from the seat
  4. Another shot
  5. Across the aisle
  6. Struggling to see his crossword
  7. Another view
  8. View across the aisle

Friday, April 14, 2006

Heat Wave

It's not every organization that can claim a surplus on the back of rate increases. It's not every organization that gets to be a monopoly. It's not every organization that doesn't empower its employees. It's not every organization that can ignore increasing energy costs. It's not every organization that is Metro North Railroad.

Today we had a beautiful spring day with temperatures in the 60s. Today we could walk outside without a jacket. Today, Metro North decided to run the heat on both my morning and afternoon rides home. Not just any heat. The amount of heat that makes the walls hot to the touch.

Riding car #8400 into Grand Central for 8:45am, I learned that the conductor can't adjust the heat. No thermostat control. He had to suffer through it too. We trust conductors with the safe operation of a train worth millions and the lives of all those aboard. What Metro North designer felt that we couldn't trust them with a temperature control? The announcement suggested we move to another car. The conductor's answer? Open the one window near his booth. So we are heating in springtime, with temperatures in the 60s and the window is open.... and we're paying for it.

On my afternoon 3:33pm out of Grand Central (hey it's Good Friday), I take a seat in car #8428 and wouldn't you know it... the heat is on. Is this some Metro North joke? Freeze in the winter and heat in the spring? This time there's no window near us, so my fellow commuters look for a way to jam open the rear door so some air will blow through the car. And what do we find under our seat? One of those red planks we've seen the conductor use to prop open his door. Once again, we are heating in springtime, with temperatures in the 60s and the door is open... and we're paying for it.

Today's pics:
  1. Morning magic window
  2. Another view
  3. Parked at Grand Central
  4. Afternoon descent to lower 'cool' track
  5. Door to prop open
  6. The prop

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Shhh... I'm Sleeping

At the recent March 2006 Commuter Council Presidents Forum, a number of commuters pressed the Metro North president on creating a 'quiet' car. They suggested it be in the middle of the train where ridership is lower. They suggested it be posted as such and that conversation, especially cell phones, would have to occur in another car. They suggested Metro North give it a try, a pilot. President Cannito refused siting the inability to police people, and that many people want to talk on the train.

Today, I rode on the quiet car. Not just quiet. Silent. Freaky silent. Not a word, murmur, cell phone, sneeze or cough. For over an hour this morning on car #9055 a commuter had the Metro North 'quiet' car.

How did Metro North do it? Did President Cannito relent? Nope. Good old Metro North design. The interior lights failed and only emergency lights near the doors worked. Too dark to read, commuters took to closing their eyes (myself included) and enjoyed the quiet.

Today's pics:
  1. Lights out in CT
  2. View after arriving in Grand Central
  3. Another view in the darkness

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Price Inelasticity #2 - thanks Ben

I stand corrected to my earlier post. Buying a ten-trip off peak at a discount and using it during peak invokes a Metro North policy of step up fares that is greater than the one-way difference. Net-net. Unless your conductor knows you and cuts some slack or is really bad at basic math, the ten-trip off peak will not likely save you over the ten-trip peak ticket.

What does this mean for the commuter? There's no effective discount on a ten-trip ticket. Only a paper and time saving over buying them one off. Since Metro North is effectively saving by having to only process one ticket instead of 10, shouldn't they be passing on some of those savings?

Today's pic is the email answer from Metro North.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Death to Mr. Clean

The saga at platform 20 continues for the early morning Metro North commuter. Exiting mid-train I found stacks of Bud Light boxes before crossing the garbage zone.

Does Metro North not know it's such a mess or do they not care?

Today's pics:
  1. The car
  2. Early morning bar car service output?
  3. View as heading to the back of the platform
  4. Passing the bin
  5. Recycle me...
  6. View looking towards front of train

There's No Energy Crisis #2

Once again, the commuter gets to experience that fine Metro North design for side door weather stripping. Once again we have poor fitting, gaps, of a screwed in piece of rubber. Not a six-Sigma type of quality process.

The pics:
  1. Various gaps under the doors
  2. Left door
  3. Right door
  4. Close up
  5. On other side of car
  6. Train number

Time For A Shine

On yesterday's evening Metro North train out of Grand Central (car #8702), found myself on a local hitting many of the stops. These guys felt no shame at stretching out and getting their feet up. Time to once again break out the Purell.

The pics:
  1. Hey Man... move that foot
  2. I didn't mean up on the seat
  3. There's the culprit
  4. He's got a friend
  5. The tag team
  6. Chewing on more ways to dirty up the seats

Friday, April 07, 2006

Where's My Track?

One thing Metro North has gotten right, is decent signage while on the platform to indicate track numbers. The upper level signs are certainly a lot nicer than those on the lower level.


It never fails on Metro North's New Haven line. The railroad that's always got poor service, poor design, or disappointment waiting for its commuter.

On Wednesday morning, riding car #8701, I got to see a sight that I hadn't seen before...

As background, every side door, on every car has an emergency lever that can open the door. The emergency lever is hidden behind some fake wood panelling. The panel opens by turning two metal clips and then swings free. Once open, you could free yourself from the train in case of an emergency.

What does Metro North do when the two metal clips on the panel are broken? Does it replace what's probably a $5 item? No... they rip an Emergency Exit sign from the end door of the car and slap it across the panel to seal it shut. Problem? How will a commuter get it off? Got a Swiss army knife, screwdriver, or should a commuter pull off all their nails while trying to get free?

The pics:
  1. The panel with the sign stuck across it
  2. A close up shot
  3. What a normal panel looks like...
  4. ...with a working metal clip
  5. The emergency instructions
Perhaps we should amend the instructions from:
  • Listen for directions...
  • Open this panel
  • Follow instructions inside
  • Exit the train
  • Listen for directions...
  • Find a weapon or tool
  • Break the seal
  • Open this panel
  • Follow instructions inside
  • Exit the train

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Oopss... Sorry

One of the bad things about getting an aisle seat on Metro North is that some inconsiderate fellow commuter will whack you with his bags while walking down the aisle.

Tonight's victim? Women sitting diagonally across from me mid-train. Tonight's perpetrator? Ear Bud Guy whose two bags made him twice as wide as an average human and destined to whack somebody.

The kicker? After he realized (when we pointed it out) that he had hurt her, he shouted a half-hearted 'Sorry' as he couldn't be bothered to turn off the iPod and apologize in a normal voice.

Tonight's pics:
  1. Back of whacker struggling to maneuver his bags
  2. Like that width will fit down the aisle
  3. Ear Bud Guy

Mr. Clean Died On Track 20

With garbage cans moveable, recycling newspaper bins on wheels, and a predicted passenger load by train, there's no excuse for Metro North having overflowing garbage bins at 8:30am.

The concepts of scheduling and resource management must be foreign to the railroad when it comes to garbage removable at the end of the platform between tracks 20 and 21.

This mornings pics show that yesterday's mess was not some anomaly.

Decorating With Duct Tape #3

Who knew we would get an answer so soon to what's next with the duct tape holding together Metro North trains question?

This morning's car #8464 adds to the walls, doors and seats we've seen with duct tape, repairing the floor by an Emergency Exit. Now that gives a sense of security.

Cracking The Code #4

Last week's pics of some of the Metro North Railroad cars I travelled on... similar range to prior weeks (8400s-8800s).

The pics:
  1. 8801
  2. 8508
  3. 8566
  4. 8822
  5. 8700
  6. 8722
  7. 8440
  8. another view of 8440

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mr. Clean's On Holiday

What a bloody mess today and Metro North service disappointment.

As I left my 8:25am arrival at Grand Central, I caught this site while heading for the back stairs. Two garbage cans overflowing and spilling onto the ground. The newpaper bin overflowing and door propped open so the recycling can all spill out. If that was just from the morning rush then Metro North should empty the bins every few trains. If it was spill over from the weekend, then they should clean it before the morning rush.

And on the ride home? As I headed through the tunnel at the 48th street bunker, I caught the site of bags of garbage stacked by the stairs. Now that's a new one. Usually the area is blocked for ceiling repairs.

And on the train itself? Nice stench from the bathroom. Hope the commuters check before entering... because that extra roll? It's not in the bathroom. Looks like Metro North left it on the luggage rack.

Today's pics:
  1. Overflowing morning bins between tracks 20/21
  2. Evening garbage pile
  3. Side of bathroom with spare roll in the luggage rack

Decorating With Duct Tape #2

After the amount of duct tape I saw in a Metro North Railroad bar car last month, you would think that I wouldn't be surprised to see it again.

As I left tonight's train home (car #8815), the delayed 7:11pm out of Grand Central, I caught some duct tape repairing a wall above the luggage rack and managed to get a quick pic.

So now we've seen duct tape repair on seats, doors and walls. What's next?

Make Way For My Beer

I don't know if it's the commuters or what Metro North does to us that turns so many well dressed people into such desperate, etiquette be missed scramblers trying to get seats.

Tonight, on the delayed 7:11 out of Grand Central on track 24 you knew a problem was going to happen. First they didn't post the track until after 7:00 pm. Then there was no train when people shuffled down. Then the crowd grew. And grew. And grew.

Now, if you've been through these situations before, you know that there will be enough seats for everyone. But that wasn't enough for 'beer guy'. He had to start shuffling forward with his open beer. Empty train arrives and you know what happens... not like the Titanic with women and children first. No... Here it's beer guy pushing ahead to get his cherished aisle seat near the bathroom
(car #8815).

And why was the train delayed? Kudos to Metro North's conductor for clearly telling us as we departed that a sick passenger caused a train delay and thereby a switch in equipment. Kudos to Metro North for taking care of that passenger. Kudos to 'beer guy' for going home and being able to brag to the wife how he pushed everyone aside to get a seat.

Tonight's pics:
  1. Crowd waiting for the 7:11
  2. More people arriving
  3. Another view
  4. Train arriving at end of station
  5. Back of 'Beer Guy' pushing, you can just make out the beer
  6. In his seat singing his victory song
  7. Uh... where's my ticket?
  8. Will his manners improve if he keeps whacking his head?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Waving In The Wind

Nothing to do with Metro North Railroad, but my commute does take me out of Grand Central, up Park Avenue a few blocks to pass the Waldorf=Astoria.

The pics:
  1. The famous Waldorf=Astoria
  2. Serbia & Montenegro (or The Netherlands upside down)
  3. Luxembourg
  4. Paraguay
  5. Italy
  6. France

Friday, March 31, 2006

Thomas The Tank Engine

Actually, not quite Thomas, but today's window seat and lighting allowed me to capture some of the Metro North train cars riding our rails.

Today's pics:
  1. Early morning diesel going backwards to Grand Central
  2. My train to arrive in GCT after 8am
  3. Passing another New Haven line train... in the Bronx?
  4. Almost reaching Manhattan and we passed this train
  5. Back of train around Harlem 125th Street
  6. Front of same train

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Iron Bar Hotel

Interesting what I caught the other day sitting on top of one of those carts the Metro North employees drive around Grand Central Terminal. It's a Post Office mail tub. You know. The one's with a warning of fine or imprisonment for misuse.

At a time when we are debating offering illegal immigrants an amnesty program, perhaps we need another amnesty so our Metro North employees don't get dragged off by the Postal police.

Click here for an article on an earlier amnesty program.

The pics are:
  1. Cart with bricks and post office mail tub on back
  2. Close up of Warning... maximum penalty of $1,000 or 3 years imprisonment for theft or misuse
  3. [inset] happy tub doing what it is supposed to

Precision Molding #2

The one Metro North consistent is that you don't have to look far on a New Haven line car for a design problem...

Sitting in my window seat on the 7:37pm (car #8700) out of Grand Central this evening, I once again got to see the fine alignment of panels that near my door. Another gap in the wall, this time stuffed with someone's receipt. Given that the panel holds the gears to release the doors in case of an emergency, you would think that Metro North wouldn't want people sliding paper in there...

Today's pics of the side of the panel (double click to enlarge):
  1. Lower panel portion that is aligned
  2. Mid panel portion where gap begins
  3. Close up of gap
  4. If you look carefully, someone jammed a receipt in the wall
  5. Lower panel sealed tight
  6. Gap portion with opening
  7. Lower panel sealed tight
  8. Gap wide enough for a pen to fit

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

All That Crud #2

Smooth ride. Good announcements. On time departure and arrival. What more do you want?

How about a window that's been cleaned and doesn't look covered with spew? How about a wall that doesn't have some mold looking substance growing on it? We've seen this before...

Would any of us fly on an airline if we took a window seat and saw this filth, grime and likely germ laboratory? No. So why don't we pick another railroad that would clean its cars more often? Oh. That's because Metro North is a monopoly and we have no choice.

Tonight's pics from car #8822, the 7:37 out of Grand Central:
  1. window sill covered in spew
  2. another view
  3. and other
  4. weather stripping covered in grime
  5. what's growing behind that seat on the wall?
  6. close up of crud

A Trio of Problems

Yesterday's morning ride into Grand Central was more of the same... poor design, poor service and poor security. Caught the last Metro North car (#8508) and found myself without a seat standing in the vestibule...

Poor design? you've guessed it. Felt the cold wind blowing at my feet and like before, saw the light shining through where the weather stripping doesn't seal the door.

Poor service? you've guessed it. Looked up and there was that lighting grid once again. The dust particle collection so thick that you could spread them on a knife like butter. Likely hasn't been cleaned in years.

Poor security? you've guessed it. Like we've seen before, conductor man had the back compartment propped open with a stick and after East Norwalk he headed to the front of the train never to be seen again.

Who needs to fix these problems? you've guessed it. Metro North Railroad.

The pics:
  1. Top 2 of the train door with gaps
  2. Bottom 2 of the dust encrusted lighting grid

Monday, March 27, 2006

Cracking the Code #3

Last week's pics of some of the Metro North Railroad cars I travelled on... similar range to prior weeks (8400s-9000s). Caught some decent reflections on the glass...

The pics:
  1. 8969
  2. 8719
  3. 8440
  4. 8558
  5. 8912
  6. 8544
  7. 9013
  8. 8438

Never a Bride, Always a Bridesmaid

The other day I got on my train home and found the latest Milepost publication on my seat. Whether you like it or not, consider it propaganda or good communication, it is useful in one aspect. It is the only place I can find that compares the performance of the Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines. While the Metro North website has two years of on-time data, it is aggregated and doesn't allow for a commuter to make comparisons.

How did the New Haven line do for January? We're consistent. Consistently not catching the bouquet.
  • Last in AM performance? New Haven.
  • Last in PM performance? New Haven.
  • Last in Off-peak weekday performance? New Haven.
  • Last in Off-peak weekend performance? New Haven.
  • Last overall? New Haven.
Today's pic is a scan from the back of March 2006 Milepost.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A Team Player

Why is it that Metro North commuters will act differently on the train than they do at home? From the drunks to the space hogs to the litterbugs... I wouldn't want to see their living rooms.

This morning, I'm sitting diagonally across from a Euro-suit who's reading his smatter of papers. We hit the GCT tunnel and suddenly he's up, papers are still under the seat and on the seat next to his. No concern from him. Before I can say something he's at the door and I'm getting called by an old colleague. Unfortunately, couldn't get a clear shot of his face.

If idiots like this would just do their part, the train ride would be better for all of us.

The pics:
  1. On the seat beside him
  2. Under his seat
  3. Running for the door, no papers in hand

Sharper Image Innovation Lab

I've found myself standing on too many trains home, caught in the vestibule and hoping for a seat when folks get off at Stamford. When my eyes wander upward, I'm wary of the lighting I'll find. There are two types. One is a series of flourescents behind rectangular flat plastic panels. The other is another poor Metro North Railroad design that may be impacting your health.

What's that wonderful design? A series of flourescents behind an aluminum looking suspended grid. The problem with the grid, is that with all the ions floating around the train, it has likely become charged and now attracts particles. You know what I'm talking about... Sharper Image built a massive business around attracting particles with their Ionic Breeze line of air purifiers.

From their site:
"The Ionic Breeze cleans the air by trapping airborne particles as they circulate past an array of electrically charged stainless steel blades. Contaminated air from the room is drawn in through the vents at the back of the unit. As the particles enter, they are electrically charged and are attracted to the oppositely charged collection blades inside. These charged particles will stick to the blades until wiped off by the user. "

Replace blades with light grid and you get the idea. The particles have been attracted. The problem is that Metro North is not cleaning the grids frequently enough (or at all) and a commuter now this black layer of particles hanging overhead and flowing through the air. Try running your finger along it one time...

The pics:

1, 2, & 3 Plastic enclosed vestibule lighting
4, 5, & 6 Ionized grid

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Deja Vu

Last week we had a range in weather that afforded different views from the early morning platform...


1-4 To the north, 5-8 To the south
  1. 3/13
  2. 3/14
  3. 3/15
  4. 3/16
  5. 3/13
  6. 3/14
  7. 3/15
  8. 3/16

Precision Molding

When you leave for work in the morning, you never know what new experience Metro North Railroad has in store for its commuter... is it funky service, a poor designed train, or something strange in the air?

Sitting in my seat on the train home (car #8558), I got to see that tonight would be a design night highlighting that precision molding and quality control have not yet taken root with Metro North. The gap between the window and side molding is reminisent of US car manufacturing in the 1970s... perhaps we should have the Japanese build our trains as they've figured out how to make parts align.

Today's pics of where the panel meets the window:
  1. Left view
  2. Center view
  3. Right view
  4. Close up of gap
  5. Left view showing that a pen could fit inside
  6. Right view that's aligned

Views From The Train

A benefit of Metro North is the views you can't get from an automobile.

Pics of the last few days:
  1. Bridge to Manhattan
  2. Norwalk area
  3. The Bronx

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

There's No Energy Crisis

I recently attended a conference by Core77 called Design 2.0. Interesting number of speakers talking about how design differentiates you from your competitors and how good design keeps your clients. Oh to be a monopoly like Metro North Railroad and not have to worry about good design.

Today's poor design on our 1970's era trains? Weather stripping. Specifically that piece of rubber that runs under the eight side doors on each car.

One would think since we can seal a window, an auto, and get it all at Home Depot, that Metro North would've purchased the best weather stripping. But no. It's some badly fitting, gap producing, screwed in piece of rubber that lets the air just travel free. Not just where the doors meet, but under each of the screws. Great if you're in a convertible in the summer. Not great if you have to stand, it's 30 degrees outside and the cold air is whipping by your feet.

Today's pics from the morning ride on car #8914.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Trash Talkin...

Had to grab a later train today and found myself on an empty platform with time to kill. Trying to keep warm, I walked the length of the platform and was stunned at the amount of garbage down by the tracks. Hard to pressure Metro North to clean up its act if we commuters are not doing our part...

See if you can spot the following in the pics above (click twice to enlarge):
  • Baseball cap
  • Buried sandal
  • Other sandal (no match)
  • Altoids container
  • Softdrink bottle
  • Scarf
  • Hanger
  • Pencil
  • Cigarette butts
  • Chinese food mustard packet
  • Water bottles
  • Heineken bottle
  • Rolling Rock bottle
  • Other brown beer bottle
  • Snapple bottle
  • Juice bottle
  • Kleenex pack
  • Red wooden stake (looks eerily like what was propping doors open)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Cracking The Code #2

This week's pics of some of the Metro North Railroad cars I travelled on... similar range to last week's (8400s-8900s). Still say it supports my theory on retirement. Wonder if the new Hudson / Harlem line cars are all in the 2xxx range... oh, to be a modern train commuter

The pics:
  1. 8502
  2. 8404
  3. 8800
  4. 8513
  5. 8728
  6. 8817
  7. 8914
  8. 8728

Practicing for the Posiedon

One thing about riding the Metro North Railroad is that you're always in for a new adventure. Expect the unexpected... Just when you've had a good uneventful quiet couple of rides, you hear that "Pull that lever, pull that red lever"...

Yesterday morning, I was on the south bound New Haven line heading into GCT for 8:25am. The train should have some nine working cars with lights and a reasonable temperature. Today... ninth car is invisible. Eigth car (mine #8914) had no lights. And the seventh... announcement from the conductor "If you're in the eighth car and want to read please move up as the lights are not working. If you're in the seventh car and too hot, please move back". Too hot? Temperature was 25 degrees outside when I boarded. How can a car be too hot on a day like that?

But that wasn't the excitement. The surprise? When we got to the station, our doors wouldn't open. Other cars opened. You could see the people exit. No message from the crew. No crew. People started getting agitated. Some started to shout. Then one guy yelled to open the access panel. So two commuters turned the knobs and got it open. Inside that panel, lots of gears and one big red lever.
"Pull that lever, pull that red lever"... One guy pulled it down and the single door opened...

What's Metro North got in store next for this commuter? Stay tuned.

The pics (dark due to lack of interior lights):
  1. Access panel still hanging open
  2. Close up
  3. Escape route