Travel day: Irene approaches

When I checked the forecast last Thursday night, it showed Hurricane Irene on a path directly towards
Baltimore. I was growing increasingly worried, but there wasn’t a whole lot I
could do about it – especially since I was heading to Philadelphia in the

Friday morning came, and I hurried around the apartment
getting myself ready for the travel day ahead of me. I get to the light rail
station at Mount Royal Avenue and boarded a train labeled “Hunt
” which promptly turned around the bend and pulled into Penn Station.

It was at this point that the driver finally announced that
this was “the final northbound stop” and that “anyone continuing northward
would have to do so by bus.”


Fortunately, said bus was parked only a few feet away from
the Mt Royal station; unfortunately, it didn’t go anywhere for another 15
minutes as the driver chatted away with the other shuttle driver.

Once we finally did leave, it took another 10 minutes to get
to the next light rail stop – Falls Road – where we were told we could catch a train going to Hunt
Valley…and that was pretty much all they told us. No explanation and no further
instructions just let us off and return to the route – could we get on either
train? Did we need new passes?

Inquiring minds got no answers, and on top of that, I was
now officially late for meeting my mom at Hunt Valley Mall.

After several minutes of milling around in the strong
mid-morning sun, a southbound train with “Falls Road” listed as its terminus enters
the station area. A dozen or so passengers get off, none of whom look happy and
many complained loudly about their new found situation.

Logically speaking, if this was the terminus and trains
could not theoretically go south of this station that would mean this was the
train we wanted to board….but it pulled out before I could get halfway across
the tracks leaving me stuck in the awkward position of being the only passenger
to try catch said train and having to come back with witty reminders of my
apparent stupidity from my fellow commuters. Thanks, guys.

The same train reappears several minutes later on the
correct northbound track with the words “Hunt Valley” appearing on its LED
display. I boarded, and had to put up with more awkward chit-chat from complete
strangers who thought their pointing out my mistake would somehow make me feel

As expected, the train cleared out at the fairgrounds
(Maryland State Fair was being held), and I was left alone the rest of the

I arrived at the mall at 11:17am, and met my mom in the
Wegmen’s food court shortly thereafter. We had a relatively quick lunch (as she
was able to do most of her shopping while waiting for me to arrive), I loaded
my bags into the car and we were off towards Pennsylvania.

It was after 4pm when we arrived back at my parent’s house,
and I could officially confirm that Irene had tracked eastward making it no
longer a direct threat to Baltimore. It was still in line to impact Philadelphia
Saturday evening through late Sunday morning – perfect timing for my nephew’s
3rd birthday party… not so much for my niece’s christening.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, light rail, transportation | Leave a comment

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