19.6.03

CHANGING TRAINS. Fairly full load on the 8.30 pm Aurora all-stopper. Conductor lifts tickets, notes location of passengers who are paying cash, returns to collect cash fares, automatic station annunciator announces the Harlem Avenue stop. Passenger in front of me asks, "This train is going to Orland Park, right?" Nope, Aurora. (Both trains leave at 8.30, you have to look at the destination list with burned out letters at Union Station.) Instant panic ... there is no later departure to Orland Park. A nearby passenger lends the panicked passenger a cell phone, she calls Mom, gets through, lets Mom know she's getting off at LaGrange Road, which is also the stop for the helpful passenger. Can happen to anyone ... there was this InterCity train standing at the up-side platform face in Swindon, and the destination sign in the window includes "Reading" so guess who got on and wound up in Kemble? (Less serious a problem there, as a puddle-jumper headed up from Herefordshire shows up shortly, and Kemble offered some railway archaeology during the lay-over.)

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