EDITOR NOTE–this person has probably has been reading the GUARDIAN far too long. The prose obviously reflect a profound institutional knowledge and GUARDIAN flair.
SPECIAL REPORT BY
To make the experience as authentic as possible, UPRR 844 was 3 hours late. The Statesman is to be commended for announcing an event before it happens, rather than a day or two afterward. I got to the Boise Depot at 5pm, and immediately overheard that it was going to be “7 or 7:30”. The depot was open, so I went inside to sit on one of those benches which haven’t gotten any more comfortable after fifty years.
An employee from the city was greeting people, telling them that the train was running late, and no, the depot would not be open when it finally arrives. I asked her if she knew where the train currently was, and she told me she didn’t, “because
the computer is down”.
WHAT “computer is down”? Does the fricking TELEGRAPH work, perhaps?
So I left, and came back at 7:30. Rumors were now flying that it’d be another two hours. There were several hundred people there.
About 8:00 one of Boise’s finest came to the platform and shined his light around, and told everybody that they “need to move back behind the white line”. Because steam locomotives weighing a million tons with 100 db whistles have a way of sneaking up on you, I guess. The girl doing balance beam exercises on the rail had to call it quits. Sigh. Now it’s just wait.
The officer walked along the track, picking up pennies and handing them back to their owners. A safety issue. There’s no telling what a penny on the track can do to a million ton locomotive. Might make it skid or something. Or some idiot might not want to wait for the train to stop before attempting to retrieve his souvenir.
I asked the officer if he knew where the train currently was. He said “about 20 minutes”. Turns out he was spot on.
Maybe he’d been following Twitter. I just found UPRR’s site, with the train’s schedule, and it turns out they have a Twitter page, that was being updated constantly. Finally, a sensible use for Twitter. Bridging the Age of Steam and the Age of Information.
Apparently, the city employee was referring to a different computer. Last time a historic train visited Boise in May 2007 it wasn’t allowed to park at the Depot. Despite claims to the contrary, Boise officials apparently just don’t like trains.
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