The Great Power Outage of 2003

Shortly after 4pm this afternoon, the power went out in my building, I could see it also went off in the building across the road. Within a few minutes people on my floor started to report that it was also out in Brooklyn and Westchester. Being the paranoid type I got my things and headed for the ferry. As I left my building I could see smoke coming from somewhere just up the block, people said it was a transformer. I was pretty lucky with the ferry and managed to get to Hoboken by about 20 to five, unfortunately the trains were not operating and the only information that was available indicated that they wouldn’t be running in the near future. I figured i would go check out the bus situation but all the buses I could find were headed into the city not away from it. So I went for a wander around Hoboken had a beer and listened to some reports on the radio. I didn’t want to get Barb to come and get me because driving into Hoboken can be a nightmare at the best of times and the cellphones weren’t working very well so I was afraid that she would get there and then not be able to find me. After my beer I wandered back to the train station to see what was going on. The place was fully powered and they seemed to be letting people get on trains. There were very few NJ Transit people around to help out but I managed to get on a train that was appearently headed in my direction. I even got a seat. This was about 6pm. We sat there for about an hour and a half before anyone from NJ Transit appeared and gave any information at all. They said that they were trying to get the train going as soon as possible. We sat there for another hour or so and they came back and said the same thing except that the switches weren’t powered and would have to be operated manually and that would take a while but there were buses heading in the same direction if you wanted to do that. Just about every one on the train wanted to do that so there was a mass exodus for the buses. I managed to get on a bus heading for Summit with out too much trouble other than being fairly viciously shoved out the the way by other people wanting to get on as well. The bus driver didn’t know where summit was but serveral people made sure that he went the right way. Barb picked me up at the Summit station and I got home at 9pm.
This adventure was tame compared to September 11 but alot of people were pretty nervous. Mostly it was just long and inconvienient. You’d think that a large transit system like New Jersey Transit would have plans and procedures for emergencies such as power outages (the trains are all electric) but appearently they don’t.