twice in one day

Thursday, May 20, 2004, at 02:41PM

By Eric Richardson

I've ridden the subway for two round-trips in the last 24 hours, which I think is cool. An odd thing, though... Today, twice, I had the train stop outside of a station, apparently waiting for space to clear.

This morning it was on the Red Line coming into Union Station. We sat still for a minute or two waiting for a train to clear the platform before continuing on. As we began to move you could see the other train waiting to use the cross-over and get back to the westbound side.

This afternoon the stop was high above the LA river, directly above the Gold Line maintenance facility. We were at a complete stop for 45 seconds to a minute, and then continued as normal into Chinatown. What I found odd about this stop was that it's a good ways from there to the Chinatown station, so if we were indeed waiting for a train to clear there it would have seemed we could have gotten closer first.

Funny story about the stop above the LA River: Because of riding with the bike, I end up in the single seats right up against the drivers compartment (though not in the front car). This gives me a view to face sort of back, toward the rest of the passengers. In the first few rows was a Asian family with two small children, a boy and a girl. The boy was fascinated by the views, and he really enjoyed getting to stop up so high. With nothing else to do, I was sitting there watching him study our surroundings: the river, the buildings, etc.

"Look!," he said, "A drain! A big drain!"

Or that was what I thought he said. Then I realized he actually said train, and was pointing at a freight train parked alongside the river. Both, I think, were apt for our location.