Gut Rumbles

February 07, 2005

speaking of trains...

One of the many esoteric skills I developed from working 24 years in a chemical plant is the ability to drive a Trackmobile. Do you know what one of those are? It's a big machine that runs around on four tires for road travel, but it'll hop on a pair of railroad tracks, drop a set of track wheels and operate like a small switch-engine.

Man, that is a neat vehicle. It's got air brakes, sanders, an air horn and set of couplers on each end. The one we had would move a dozen loaded acid cars easily if the tracks weren't wet, but the best way to do heavy lifting was to get the trackmobile in the middle with cars hooked up on both ends. Then, you had LEVERAGE, and you could move 20 or more cars at a time. I used to LOVE driving that fucker, even after the time I slid clean through the gate and tore down the guard-fence while trying to move a record thirty loaded 90-ton cars at once.

I did that at night and it was pretty. I locked all the brakes and sparks were flying off the tracks like sparklers on the Fourth of July, but the cars kept going. I was on a dew-covered downhill piece of track at the time, and even pouring all the sand on the tracks that I could from the sanders didn't slow my ass down. I thought I was going to end up in downtown Savannah before I stopped.

I didn't derail anything, so I was able to explain it all away with a very logical analysis the next day--- at least everything except the shit-stain I left on the driver's seat when I went crunching through that gate, unable to stop. I got away with that fuck-up, but I never tried moving 30 cars at once again.

I still love trains.

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