I was running late for a train ride to the airport from Barcelona and saw the train was already at my terminal with the doors open. I jumped in and saw no one was in there, I thought that was strange. Before I was even able to finish the thought, the doors closed, the lights went out and the train was moving. I looked up at the flashing scrolling words indicating the train was out of service! It happened so fast my first reaction was to tap on the sliding door and the emergency button, but nothing happened. I was alone in the train with all of my gear on me in the dark going to what I could only imagine was where trains went to die.
A mini panic attack set in and after a moment I began to run through each of the train cabins. All I could see were minimal red lights near the doors and the occasional sunlight beaming from leaving one tunnel and going into the next. I ran in the dark through all the cabins with my heart pounding hoping that I would find someone at the front of the train in conductor’s room. All I kept hoping was that this wasn’t an automated train or something since it was out of service. It felt like I was running endlessly, but I finally reached the front of the train and knocked on the conductor’s door. The confused man opens and looks at me asking is Spanish what I was doing on that train. I explained that my train was supposed to be at that station terminal and showed him my ticket. Apparently, my train was the NEXT train to arrive at the terminal. He was frustrated for a moment, but noticed how panicked I was and assured me I could still make it to the airport. He explained that he would drop me off at the next station and told me which train exactly to board. A few minutes later, I arrived at the stop, thanked the conductor and waited in a random platform for the correct train to arrive. As the conductor advised, the train arrived and I verified with other passengers that it was indeed bound for the airport.
Out of all the experiences I’ve had as a solo traveler, that had to be the most nerve wrecking event I’ve ever had. It was a deep fear of not knowing where I was going to end up and being completely drowned in darkness all at once. Maybe I over reacted to the situation but it felt like the first time I lost complete control of a situation, if only for a moment. The one good thing that came out of it is having a newfound respect for double checking everything before boarding anything.