Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

MBTA Commuter Rail Survival Guide

Jill Silverberg

As a former New Yorker, I am not unfamiliar with taking rail transport to get to the places that I need to go. With my Archives capstone internship in Providence, I’ve become quite familiar with the MBTA Commuter Rail. Would I say that it’s the best rail transport that I’ve ever taken? No. That title will always be reserved for my beloved Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). I have too many fond childhood memories of the lights flickering off and on while traveling under tunnels to ever consider awarding another train system the top honors. Yet the MBTA Commuter Rail does a perfectly fine job at doing the whole train thing. Most of the time.

Listen, no train is perfect; all commuters can hope for is that their train arrives and departs on time. Yet sometimes, things happen, as they tend ton do. Thus far this semester, I have been stuck on a train for almost three and half hour due to Amtrak complications as well as stuck on a train traveling at reduced speeds, also due to Amtrak complications. Ok, perhaps the problem here isn’t the MBTA but another train service. Regardless of whose at fault, let’s get one thing clear: being stuck on a train stinks. You know it, I know it; even the writers of Hey Arnold know it. Remember that subway episode?
While I have never had the fortune of being stuck on a subway (knock on wood), I have traveled on enough trains throughout my life to know that one should always be prepared in case something, anything, happens. While I am not encouraging something akin to a bug-out-bag, I can attest that it definitely doesn’t hurt to have a few of the following items stashed away in your bag.

  1. Phone
  2. MP3 player
  3. Water bottle
  4. Book or magazine
  5. Snacks
  6. Sweatshirt (in case its cold)
  7. A second book (in case you get bored of the first one)
  8. Whatever else you need to keep yourself entertained 

I know that this list is short but, as mentioned, I’m not suggesting creating a bag fit for the end of the world. Even when trains are running at their worst, you will get home. Eventually.

I promise.