Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Train schedules annoy me.

Actually it's not the schedules so much as the ninny pods behind the schedules. Let's say I'm taking a train out of Grand Central Station in New York City where the trip begins.

My imaginary train is scheduled to leave at 5:03 or 6:01 PM. Would it not dawn on the feeblest of minds that this numerical choice makes little sense and is of no practical value?

Why wouldn't it occur to schedulers to have the train leave the station at 5 or 6 o'clock? Just round it off to the nearest hour and be done with it. If you like, I'm open to leaving every half hour.

Train people have got to stop messing with our minds.

And does one person make these scheduling decisions? Or is a small clueless committee formed to figure out the times of our departures and arrivals? In short, how many people does it take to change a schedule?

Once they decide on this, we're all stuck with the arbitrary times that we're supposed to believe is carved in stone. THE 6:01 TO SUNNYBROOK WILL BE ARRIVING AT 7:03! No, it won't! It will get there at 7:10 or 7:20 or whenever it gets there.

Another galling thing about trains you might want to unravel. Why are the schedules changed 3 or 4 times a year? Do the train people have trouble filling their day? Do they find it amusing to waste paper? Why can't we make one sensible schedule and stick with it for five years?

WHAT A WAY TO RUN A RAILROAD may be a tired old chestnut. But it's a chestnut that's hard to poke holes in.


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