A train story, part V


Welcome to part 5 of our Train Stories segment. We only have 83 more to go before we wrap up the 88-part series in the year 2076.

Last weekend I was on the green line, headed inbound toward Lechmere. A man and woman were huddled together – mid 50’s, graying hair, clearly tourists – looking intently at the subway map. They weren’t lost, because no one is ever lost in 2014, but they were having a difficult time finding their way.

I walked over and asked if they needed help.

Now, I never, ever proactively talk to strangers in public. I’m terrified of people. But I had just finished a grande caramel macchiato from Starbucks so I was feeling more chipper than usual.

They were trying to get to the blue line. “Oh, going to the airport?” I casually asked, because why else would you go on the blue line. “No,” they said. “But we’re going in that direction.”

The green line used to transfer seamlessly to the blue line at Government Center. But Government Center is closed until 2016 because of course it is. So what we had here was an old fashioned arithmetic problem. I did some quick math in my head, made sure to carry the one, and I deduced that the only option was a double transfer. Then I did some more math. I came to the conclusion that it would be the most efficient to transfer to the orange line at Haymarket. Then, they would have to head inbound on the orange line toward Forest Hills and then transfer to the Blue Line at State.

Make sense? Probably not. Here is a diagram:


So I told them my solution, and I explained it six different times because they kept asking, and when they finally understood where they needed to go we began the typical small talk. It was a pleasant conversation. They are from the bay area, it’s their first time in Boston, they love the city, etc. etc.

The T pulled into Haymarket, and the three of us got off. Haymarket is my stop too, but I was lucky enough to be done with the T. They still had a ways to go. And so we parted ways, and I watched them walk into the abyss of the orange line. I hope they made it.


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