Recently Philadelphia made national news because of a deadly train derailment here that took the lives of 7 people. The scene had to have been horrific, and I feel so sorry for the families of those loved ones who perished in the accident. To check out the story, here is the link to it:
It is one thing to hear about a tragedy like this on the news, but it is another thing to actually live through one. You see, 30 years ago, I, personally, was on a train that derailed between Raleigh and Vance in North Carolina, so I can fully relate to this. The circumstances also feel “very familiar,” because in my situation the train was “also” traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour. The only difference here was that my train was going that fast though a torrential rain. On my train (which was the Amtrak Silver Star) the very first thing to happen was that the “lights on the train went out.” Immediately after that, the ride became “extremely rough and bumpy” and the train began “tilting from side to side” like in one of those old “Star Trek” series. Seats uprooted, luggage started falling from the overhead luggage racks and people were “propelled” from their seats. I was in the very first seat by the door, and the woman behind me was propelled toward the front door. I pushed her down from behind so that she would not fall into the doorway while my seat uprooted and began to pin my own left leg lightly against the front wall. After about 30 seconds it was all over, and the train was tilted to the right. It was pitch black outside, and the people on the train wanted to leave because they felt that the train could possibly explode. I told them to look outside the window and tell me what they see. They frantically said “We can’t see anything outside, because it is too dark.” I told them “Exactly! You know what’s in here but you DON’T know what’s outside. Are you SURE you want to take that risk and go outside now?” The rest of the compartment remained quiet after that, but “everyone” stayed put until rescue units arrived. They put us in an armory for half the night (with a whole bunch of television crews on hand to film us) and then the other half of the night we were put in hotels. I wanted to contact my family (but there were no cell phones back then) so I had to wait until I could find a pay phone. When I finally got to one, my home phone was busy, because my family had heard about the derailment on the news and my mother was calling all the hospitals in North Carolina to see if I was there. There was relief once I finally got through. By the way, Amtrak sent “buses” to pick us up the very next day to take us the rest of the way to our destinations. I wrote Amtrak to see if they could compensate me “anything” (including complimentary tickets for a future ride) but they refused to do so because according to them “They only guarantee that you arrive at your destination.” Since in their minds they felt they accomplished that, then there was no need to compensate anyone for the inconvenience. I could have fought it in court, but since I wasn’t really hurt (except for a bruise on my leg) I decided to leave it alone. I would love to know whether they plan on treating this case scenario the same. Anyway, I hope you don’t mind me sharing my experience from 30 years ago with you today. I am blessed to be alive, and I know it… Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
The Stylistics and Brett Jolly in concert