Leaning over a railing of the Fairfield train station Saturday afternoon, Hector Santiago looked from a distance like just another prospective train passenger, waiting for the rest of his party to show up at the station. But Santiago wasn’t a sad passenger waiting for a train that wasn’t coming. He was the man of ‘no.’
Santiago, district manager for Metro North, was posted at the train station for much of Saturday mainly to tell people that there would be no train. Service to and from that station, and other, was suspended following a train derailment and crash at the Bridgeport/Fairfield line Friday evening. Santiago was one piece in a multi-faceted warning system, which also included a long PA announcement about the suspension and an illuminated sign announcing the suspension.
Luckily for him, Santiago didn’t see a lot of angry commuters while standing vigil on the platform.
“Things have been pretty slow,” he said. “I’ve been noticing a lot of people swinging by who seem to know the trains are suspended, but are looking for a contingency plan for Monday morning.”
So far, Santiago said, he isn’t aware of a contingency. He said he’s been referring most people seeking a train into New York to the South Norwalk station, where train service was still running. But he only saw a few people who didn’t seem aware of the suspension.
One of the few groups who ventured to the station Saturday afternoon was one led by Deirdre Colon of Wolcott. But Colon wasn’t a frustrated commuter looking for a train. She was just a frustrated mom who left her car at the train station on Friday and boarded a train to New York to take her son to an audition for an AT&T commercial. She and her son Gemini, 11, were supposed to be on one of the trains that crashed, but they took a later one because Gemini wanted to stop and visit the Empire State Building after his audition.
“I saved everybody’s life,” Gemini declared.
Deirdre said it became clear that something was wrong when the train was delayed, but train personnel weren’t telling passengers anything. “Nobody really knew what was happening, but if you were on Facebook, you saw what was going on,” she said. She said she was on the train for an hour and a half and “I was starting to get claustrophobic.”
Eventually, the train stopped in South Norwalk, and her husband came to pick her up.