Link to Amtrak.com

A Few Seconds Matter

My Breathless Train Adventure

by Ambarish Roy

Lowell, Massachusetts

I was new in America and was taking the bus service from Boston, Massachusetts to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I had two big bags and unfortunate luck. My bus reached New York late and I found out that the bus which was supposed to carry me to Lancaster had left me in New York. There was another bus leaving in three hours but a train leaving in 25 minutes.

The next step was to run from the Port Authority to Penn Station. I was new to America, to remind you again. So, I inquired and finally started for Penn Station which was 6-8 blocks away. To add to my luck, the street was one way (not my way) and crowded with cars moving at one mile an hour. I decided to walk or kind of run with my bags.

As I reached the station, I saw a line for the tickets. 5 minutes to go.

I watched the way people approached different agents and thought hard on what to ask the agent to make the conversation as short as possible. Two minutes to go.

I ran to the agent and got my tickets. 1 minute to go.

Now which platform and how does this train system work? I ran back to the agent and asked him about the platform number. He pointed and said "5 East."

I ran to those escalators and saw they were coming up from the platform to the station and I wanted it to be the other way! I started running around that door to find the other escalator. 0 mins to go.

I gave up the search, running down the up escalators, taking two steps at a time. I almost felt as if I was getting nowhere, but I made it down and saw the train moving and the conductor closing the door in front of me.

I screamed "Lancaster?" The conductor nodded and said "Jump in." I made it in and stood straight for a moment to digest the entire episode. I was no longer new to America.