This past Saturday’s free train ride offer turned disappointing. As my family stood at the Elk River train station to take advantage of this chance to see the Holidazzle Parade, our expectations were high. I wonder if all these people would be able to fit on the three-car train I see pass during the week. The platform was close to “track to wall” people. My family said that typically there were two trains of three cars and they would probably connect all six together.
The excitement peaked as the train came rolling in about 3:17 p.m. My family was partially right, there were five cars to the Northstar commuter rail. We watched it move into the station. Every window of the passenger cars had people waving at us. Then we watched the train move right through the station without stopping. Stunned, we stood there wondering what next?
Within minutes the PA system voice announced that the train would not be stopping at any other stations because it filled up at the Big Lake station and that buses were on the way for those who wished to take them.
My family returned to the car to discuss our options. For most of us the train was the big deal of the outing. There was another train scheduled at 5:30-ish and if we drove up to Big Lake we would be more assured of seats. But then how would the trip home work? There were sure to be more people wanting to ride the 8 p.m. train leaving Target Field Station than the train could hold. So we ran home and “Google searched” for answers to these questions. If we caught a bus home, how would we know where to catch it? Since we were unable to find answers, we chose not to risk it.
I was caught off guard at how disappointed I was. I know disappointment happens; I thought I usually accepted it and moved on. I guess I reverted to childlike expectation for this family adventure and handled it the same way.
I was pleased and amazed that I did not see any stories online or in the newspaper Sunday morning concerning the full Northstar, similar to Black Friday stories, where people wanting what they wanted resorted to violence to try and get it.
The train is free again today (Dec. 17); I wonder if it will be handled any differently than the Dec. 10th train?
I am sure we will still get our family adventure, it just might cost a little. I believe it is $16 round trip for a family of two adults and three children. —Cindy Roberts, Elk River