Riverbrook never had a station before so they had to improvise as it went along. They used confident bidders, domestic steel and concrete to erect a long platform. They screened all their conductors thoroughly, even though the railway provided them. They made the right deals with Amtrak and some stations to the north to assure reliable service.
then on opening day a little boy leaned over the platform to watch the
train come. His mother was preoccupied with The Brief and Wondrous Life
of Oscar Wao. The boy did not pull back soon enough – which is to say,
he didn’t pull back at all. It was a miracle he wasn’t killed. He was
thrown thirty yards and was distinctly unaware of any miracles when he
landed in poison sumac.
It was a horrible thing for Riverbrook.
They apologized, made settlements and cleaned. They mourned, even though
the boy was alive and from out of town.
Riverbrook put down bumpy yellow plastic to guide people away from the edge of the platform thereafter.
of people came to take the next train. They had lives. They rushed
aboard, and teenage vacationer fell in the gap between the platform and
the door. It took half an hour to get her leg free.
along the yellow bumpy plastic for people to “MIND THE GAP.” The station
manager announced the same for the PA before every train.
this one girl from Florida missed the message and didn’t hear him. She
was busy on her cell. She explained such as the station crew pried her
knee from the gap.
So for the next day the station manager
wandered the platform, explaining that some people had troubles boarding
and to be very careful. Elderly patrons appreciated the attention, but
some of the younger ones thought he was crazy and disregarded the
message. One of them was threatening to sue twenty minutes later when he
fell in all the way to the waist.
So the station manager and
every free person on staff wandered the platform afterwards, making
certain every single person had a thorough lecture on how to board a
train. No one was allowed to board before they had all been lectured. It
held up the rail schedule terribly. It also took so long that people
who had been lectured grew impatient, missed some crucial step in the
instructions, and three people stumbled into the gap that afternoon.
were ordered to carry everyone onto the train, as passengers clearly
couldn’t be trusted with this kind of responsibility. But as Wesley
Morgan carried his third passenger on board his back went out and he
staggered backwards through the door. You can guess where his left foot
went. He was the most pleasant of the gap-victims, though; he was
looking forward to suing someone, and possibly retiring early.
Riverbrook Station saw so many accidents that they were still unsafe by
the time particle teleporters were introduced. The station manager
happily handed over the keys to a physicist. He babbled warnings about
queuing order how a size ten shoe can pass through a three inch space.
The physicist shrugged him off and invited his first passenger. That was
the first time any teleporter commuter ever lost a foot.