The above photo was taken Thursday morning at 8:32 am. Looks crowded? It was packed. And not normal.
This was one of the rare days when DB also rides the train at the same time as I do. We were well on time to make the 8:15 train, except that the train never came. More and more people showed up to get their train. No trains came. Normally trains run from Haarlem to Amsterdam every 10-15 minutes. At 8:32, after 2 train times had been missed and the platform was five people deep, there was a quiet, subtle announcement saying that the 8:36 train from Dordrecht would be arriving on platform 3. DB heard it clearly. I didn’t. But he said “Let’s go!”
We ran down from Platform 1 and up to Platform 3 just in time to take this photo of all the people waiting on 1 for their train, and in the next seconds the 8:36 train came, we got on, and sat happily in a half empty train, heading for Amsterdam. Only about 15 people or so also figured out what was going on and joined us. I can just imagine all these people on the other side cursing out the NS for their lousy service. Yup, on that day it was lousy, but it also pays to pay attention.
Coming home that night was a worse mess! I RAN to catch the 6:15 pm train from Amsterdam to Zandvoort (stopping in Haarlem). But the train wasn’t there yet. Strange. It arrived 5 minutes late and PACKED with people returning from the beach. I hate them. I have to work and they were at the beach all day. Anyway, I got on the train, which was more like an oven. It was one of those trains that is too new to have windows that open and too old to have airco. Instead they have these crappy vents above the windows that are supposed to be sufficient. The design engineer should have to ride his own train in the heat of summer with a lot of other people.
Anyway, the train just sat there. And we sat there sweating. After 20 minutes there was an announcement that there were electrical problems due to the heat and they didn’t know when this train would leave. Sigh. We all got off.
I headed down to see what was happening and when another train would go. The signs downstairs weren’t working. I walked up to platform 2 where a train to Breda should be leaving. There indeed was a nice long modern a/c train, but the sigh said “Do Not Board”. A lot of trains were in trouble because of the heat. You could hear all the announcements going on.
I called DB to say I’d be late, and then went to Ben and Jerry’s and got a Cherry Garcia scoop. Well, what the hell?
A few minutes later the Breda train was ready to board and we all got on. And we sat there. And we sat there. An announcement was made that we were waiting for an Engineer who was late coming in on another train. Finally, at about 7 pm I left Amsterdam to head home. Thank goodness for Ben and Jerry’s.