After I posted last week's photo post, the news came in about the train derailment at Spuyten Duyvil. As some of my Facebook friends were worried, I thought I should mention it here -- although I commute by train to work, I take NJ Transit, not Metro North. And, other than the cool name of Spuyten Duyvil (which means Spouting Devil), little in the Bronx holds reason for me to visit that area.
My own regular train line, NJT Raritan Valley Line, isn't as lengthy a trip end to end as is that Hudson River Metro North line. I have ridden that train once, but it was about thirty years ago heading into the city from the Poughkeepsie area. My regular commute train doesn't have any huge curves in it, either. We do have some gentle bends and there have been times that new engineers miss or almost miss the shorter train platforms due to going too fast, but nothing of crash or derailment level that I've ever experienced in the past ten years.
While I can tell if the train is going either faster or slower than usual, I really couldn't tell you the speed. Even going slow, we tend to go faster than cars on the nearby parallel roads. Those roads tend to be 30mph speed limits, so that doesn't say much. I don't believe that NJ Transit has had any passenger or crew deaths this year although I think I read that there have been 27 suicides with people jumping in front of trains, etc. That isn't enough to derail a train. Heck, once my train hit a car and that didn't derail it. Passengers do stand a chance of falling over during rough stops, but that's about it. I always hang onto something as the train is stopping.
I don't think my train line has that technology they've been talking about which automatically slows the train down per conditions although it's supposedly being tested on NJT. We do go over a detector doohickey outside of Dunellen which broadcasts over the walkies the conductors have. Hmm -- there's actually a very short YouTube bit on it. That detector checks the journal boxes for heat and dragging equipment to make sure a wheel isn't going to fall off or anything. I asked one of the conductors if it has ever sensed a defect. He told me every time he's had a defect, it's been a defect in the detector itself, not the train! It would creep me out if my own job had something called a "dead man's switch" -- but that's standard equipment on trains. That detects that the engineer's hands or feet (?) have dropped off the controls and stops the train.
On the whole, even though NJ Transit was SO foolish when Sandy hit (storing all the rail equipment in the flood zone), I feel safe on the trains and have faith in the quality of the equipment and the crews. I know older train cars are in use on the NJT rails, but my line is all the fairly new (some even newer as they're Sandy replacements) double-deckers. Every now and then heading into the city, I'll get the old Comet cars with the brown seats on the Northeast Corridor line. But I mainly stick to my own train line and I have no worries -- it's far safer than being in a car!
After all this train talk, it's evident that not much happened in the Life of Jackie this week, huh? True dat! Work, eat, sleep, had a stomach bug for a couple of days, icky weather going back and forth to work ... not any great photo opportunities to speak of. Today we're supposed to get a bit of snow and the cold has set in once again. At least snow will be pretty, but it's not guaranteed to be a white Christmas at all. It rarely is around here.
Anyway ... onto the photos I took this week --
I don't recall this being there Thanksgiving week. But it did indeed show up this past week on a porch on Berckman Street in Plainfield.
While I do enjoy it, the house at the corner of Richmond and East Front is looking a bit like Clark Griswold (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation/Chevy Chase) had a hand in it. If it seeps to the upper floors, we'll know for sure. Plainfield.
Just about every early morning walk to the train station had darkness and fog.
|Um. Okay. No.|
However, if someone wants to wire ME money, who am I to say no? New billboard outside my local bodega on East Second Street in Plainfield, NJ.
|Berries in the rain|
Lots of rain this past week. It could be worse. It could have been ice or snow. Bridgewater, NJ.
If I were "Mom," that door would have been repainted immediately! Graffiti on an apartment door on North Avenue in Plainfield.
|Not fooling me!|
This Plainfield police car has been sitting in the exact same spot 24/7 for over a month now. I realize a common tactic of police departments is to park an empty police car in various areas to make thugs and ne'er-do-wells think there's a cop in the area. But, sheesh. Move it now and then! This one appeared as the one set of projects in town started getting emptied. As this is in front of subsidized senior citizen and disabled housing, perhaps they're worried the criminals would move to there. However, I haven't seen any increase in riff-raff in the neighborhood. East Front Street, Plainfield.
|The bush doesn't want to de-leaf|
While most of the bushes and trees are barren, this bush is determined to remain in an array of colors. Bridgewater, NJ.
|Looking a lot like Christmas|
The trees by the Plainfield Police Department's memorial are all decorated for the holidays. The flag is at half-staff as I took it last night, the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Obviously, there was no wind. Thankfully so as it was FREEZING out! Watchung Avenue, Plainfield.
|Sunset in da 'hood|
Lots of clouds this week. I caught this little bit of color one day coming home from work. Alas, grey seemed to be the Color of the Week otherwise. East Front Street, Plainfield.
|Hard at work sleeping|
No signs of mice in the walls, so Vincent is doing his second favorite thing in the world -- napping. Ah, to live the life of a pampered indoor cat! Can you imagine how well-rested we would be?