St Louis MetroLink maintenance facility Ewing Yard tour National Train Day 2014

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In my opinion St Louis National Train Day was not very well organized. We arrived at Union Station on the MetroLink expecting to be running late. Imagine our surprise when everyone was still setting up. There were no available maps showing where different events or stands would be located. If I hadn’t spent time at the location the night before – I wouldn’t have known where most things were located. Online resources were just as bad. Leading up to the event many online had been asking for more information – with no responses being given.

So not seeing a MetroLink tent or stand we went inside Union Station and headed to the information desk. The older lady working there was completely useless = friendly = but had no information to help us. So much for an information desk. You would think that before such a large event – management would have prepared her and others to answer questions.

After exiting Union Station we saw someone across from the MetroLink station that looked official. She was kind enough to let us know that MetroLink was setting up there and we could come back later for our tour passes. The man who ended up running things most of the day was busy trying to locate a table. Not only did he have to hunt down a table – he also had to stand in the blazing Sun all day – guess no one thought a tent would be a good idea.

We came back a little later to get our passes. That process went smoothly and it was explained where we should go to get on the train at our scheduled time. We chose the first time slot of 1PM.

After spending time touring the inside of various rolling stock ( train equipment ) – we headed to get some food an hour before our scheduled tour departure. Once we got our food from a less than pleasant vendor – we headed to the benches near the MetroLink display material table. On the bench next to us sat a young man who talked to himself during our lunch. He didn’t bother us at any point – just a lot words that didn’t seem to make any sense.

When we finished eating we waited until about 15 minutes before our boarding time and headed towards the MetroLink station to wait on the platform. Since no one seemed to be guiding anyone – we figured this would be the best thing to do. If I remember correctly this may have been the instructions we were given earlier in the morning.

Unfortunately this didn’t sit well with the male security guard who had a very bad attitude. Keep in mind this same man seemed to be nice to some and not so kind to others. I witnessed several interactions with him and the public during our adventure.

Finally a few MetroLink employees show up to take us down to the platform. Our wait turned into 30 minutes. During this time at least 2 other trains came into the station ( only the special event train ran late ). This caused security to get a bit irritable. The platform had a good amount of passengers on it – so the order to move down kept getting barked. This constant confusion and needing to move – made it very hard to get anything recorded. It also made it hard for many riders to stay out of the hot Sun.

It should be kept in mind that communication between event coordinators and security seemed to be non-existent. So those there for the special tour were confused as to what was going on and what they needed to do. Everyone kept being told to board only the first car when the special train came into station. No information was given to if that was the front car or the back car.

When the special event train got into the terminal we boarded the last car. This is where an event spokesperson made an announcement. I wasn’t prepared for that as the video above clearly shows.

Once on the train things mellowed out. It was a very quick ride to Ewing Yard maintenance facility. We entered the building through the train wash area. We would de-boarded the train and start our tour from there.

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