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train explosion

when i was 16, i went on a ‘teen tour’ (summer 1994) where a bunch of kids boarded a coach bus and toured and camped the western US. it was pretty amazing to see how beautiful and incredibly large this country is, especially at such a young age. this post is not about that summer.

a few wks after we had all returned home, one kid called a reunion at his parents’ house in the hamptons. hoo-ha. it was the first time that i traveled unsupervised, so it was pretty exciting (also the fact that we were going to party on the beach in the hamptons). it was only a 2 hour train ride on the LIRR, but i was going by myself, so it was extra cool. of course my mom was overprotective and worried something would happen.

i boarded the train at valley stream, i believe, b/c i’d have had to switch at jamaica if i had left from cedarhurst. everything was moving along swimmingly, the train was chugging along, i was staring out the window and thinking about seeing my friends, when all of a sudden a woman opened the door and rushed in from the next car over. she ran past me, but i didn’t think anything of it b/c people move between cars all the time. then a conductor came back with her and went into the car from whence came the woman. a minute later he returned and fetched a second conductor. at this point i obviously knew something was up. as they stood next to me in the aisle, they conversed somewhat intensely for a moment about making an emergency stop – say what?! that’s when i noticed smoke starting to come in through the open door. then fireball exploded under the train.

flames shot out from under the train and licked the windows. smoke poured out leaving a trail of black soot in its wake. i’m pretty sure i saw something fly out from under the train. that was pretty much all the conductors needed to see. they pulled the cord, we screeched to a halt, and they herded everyone to the far end of the train. fire trucks rushed to the scene and fireman ran down the tracks to extinguish the train. we had to deboard the train right on the tracks and walk a little bit to get to the babylon station, where we were rescued 2 hours later by an alternate train which finally go us to the hamptons.

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