There is a train about 5 minutes walking distance from my house. It is a direct train from Vaux to Paris. This was one of the selling points of moving here. Unfortunately, what I didn’t know is that the frequency of it does not make my life any more convenient. On a Friday, like every other one, I planned to meet up with the girls in Paris. Robin and my train both get into the same station so we usually meet up and then go from there. So I got on my train just like any other day. I of course had my iPod in and was relaxing because I realized I had a 50 minute journey ahead of me. Little did I know it was going to turn into an epic adventure…

Halfway through my journey, I hear some French over the loud-speaker. Now they do this often so I didn’t think much of it.  I continued to stay on the bus not noticing anything different. I mean, the two other people in my car exited the train, but I assumed it was just their stop. Well, after that stop, once we began to move away from the station, the lights in the train turned off. I assumed it was just a normal flicker and they would turn on again soon. Well they didn’t. Once I figured this out, I called Robin to tell her about my situation and see if she could offer any advice. Suddenly, the train picked up speed. I’m talking Disneyland Monorail speed. I think Robin quotes me saying “800 miles an hour.” At this point, I was really scared. I was on a pitch dark train hauling ass to how knows or “where trains go to die.” The train eventually starts to slow down and I see we are pulling up to a station. I run the stairs and try the doors… locked. I try another set, and then another—all locked. Then the train starts moving again. This is about the point that I started wondering if I was going to survive tonight. I think, “maybe I can walk through the train toward the conductor.” Mind you, the train is so dark I am using my cell phone to light my path. As I am walking through, I am thinking how scary it is that I am alone on this runaway train, but how much more scary it would be if I wasn’t alone…

Eventually, I can’t walk any further and I really did not make it far at all. There are doors that keep you locked in your set of cars. However, at this point, the train started to slow down again. I couldn’t see a station but thought, “hey ,we’re in a tunnel, there has to be one at the other end.” I was wrong. The train slowed to a stop and we were still in the tunnel. I headed toward the doors and knew I wasn’t going to spend the night on this train. I lifted the release on the door and they didn’t open automatically like they are designed to do. I had no choice. (Although after telling this story to my family, there seems to have been other things I probably should have done. But I still stand with I did what I thought I had to do at this point). I pried open the doors and jumped onto the tracks. Indiana Jones style. I walked for several minutes in the dark tunnel praying another train didn’t come. Meanwhile, I have Robin on the phone this whole time and trying to calm me down. I continue to walk and see lights in the distance. I have no other choice really then to walk on the thin strand of land filled with rocks between two tracks—again praying nothing goes whizzing by me. Eventually I am next to the lights and see it’s a station. The other thing I see is the huge fence lining the station. I am not one to jump over fences but a night like tonight, who knows? I decide to walk around for a bit to see if there is an easier way. I found some stairs leading to the platform. I was somewhere and could not be more excited. However, this is France and nothing is easy so once I get there the train is running late and no one knows when its going to arrive. After about 20 minutes of waiting I get on the train and eventually make it to St. Lazare. Needless to say, I ran up to Robin and had her hug me for a few minutes.

I survived a runaway train.

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