I'm amazed by how many strangers read this blog and then email me. I'm honestly thrilled and touched that readers take the time to write comments and questions. Here's a sampling of one recent correspondence I received:
I love your blog, it's awesome to get the perspective of an insider on the MetroNorth trains. Next time I see someone puke on one of the late night weekend trains, I'll email you a picture.
You should start a feature on your blog called "ask the conductor". Here's the first questions to start you off:
When did the conductor announcing the stops start using the words 'platform' and 'express' as verbs. For example, instead of saying, "the train will run express to Stamford. The rear car will not reach the platform, please walk forward," the conductor will say, "the train will express to Stamford, the rear car will not platform, please walk forward."
In my book, the words express can be used as a noun or adjective, and the word platform can only be used as a noun. I guess using fewer words and insider lingo shortens the announcements and lets you get your job done faster, but as a nitpicky anal retentive rider, it drives me nuts.
thanks and a keep the war stories coming!
I think you answered your own question in the last paragraph.
Yes, fewer words do shorten the announcements and let us get our jobs done faster. Though, it's true that some conductors like the sound of their own voice (I've been accused of this) and their announcements go on like Shakespeare soliloquies, most like to keep their speeches short and sweet and to the point. Hence the "rail speak."
I recently heard this announcement: "This is Grand Central Station. Our last and final stop." This really got under my skin, because it's both redundant (last and final) and incorrect. Grand Central is a "Terminal" not a station, a qualified conductor should know that.
I'm hesitant to start an "Ask the conductor" feature, mostly for fear that rail buffs will start asking technical questions. I'd rather they visit sites like railfan.net or railroad.net
P.S. Keep the late night train puke pictures. I've seen enough to last a life time.