Getting Around Town

Monday, April 25, 2005, at 06:18AM

By Eric Richardson

Yesterday one of my PPD professors hosted our class for dinner at his house in Manhattan Beach. Being me, I made my way there via bike and train, taking a stop off at REI on the way to pick up a pair of shoes and a multitool. I managed to just miss trains on both trips, so my trip time wasn't too impressive.

The oddest thing, though, was the Blue Line train I got on at Washington and Grand, heading south. Either that train had serious equipment issues and shouldn't have been running, or the operator is the worst I've ridden with. Twice before we even left Washington we had two complete stops of the variety where you can watch every passenger jerked forward and then back in unison. Then, after making the turn, at several station stops we would come into the station fast, start to brake hard, then you would hear a thunking sound (that seemed to me like the wheels locking up and skidding) and finally we'd stop and the doors would open to the smell of brakes.

I remember back to when I was younger and had a miniature railroad. The last power controller I had came with a feature of making stops and starts more gradual, to make it more realistic. With this on you couldn't just instantly stop a train, instead it would have to take a little distance to stop. It seems that's not a feature of modern light rail trains.