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Friday, December 23, 2016

The Little Engine That Couldn't - Part 3

Don't miss reading Part 1 & 2 first.
Leaving Miller, Engine 7358 continued to back up, taking the left switch at the wye as the station master suggested to the conductor. Everybody wondered where the right switch would have taken them but nobody knew. They passed by Pinehurst and Harbour Freight as the little local backed under a trestle and into another dark tunnel. The passengers fussed nervously in the dark wondering what was to come next. But nobody knew.

Finally, back in the open air, Engine 7358 followed the conductor's arm waves until he signalled stop. They were at the freight shed at Ortona. This was strictly an industrial yard with a mine and ore cars
along with a couple of box card. The shed workers suggested to the conductor that the switch to the Sub might be "up the hill" but nobody there really knew.

Struggling with every last pound of steam, Engine 7358 struggled up the switchback, gaining height with every switch up the steep grades. With a last side rod clank, the engine emerged triumphant out of another tunnel on top of a very high trestle and all the passengers saw was a long drop down on one side and logging cars being loaded on the other.  Would this really be the way back to the Sub??  Everyone was hopeful but nobody knew.

Alas, it was not to be! Engine 7358 squealed to a stop just as the track ended at the logging camp. Obviously, this was not the way back to the Sub. So now what??  The conductor started asking the loggers at the camp but nobody knew until he found the camp cook. Wiping his hands on his apron, the cook led the conductor to the edge of the bluff overlooking Northdale station. Waving his hand over the lake in the valley, he wondered aloud if the Miller folk had told them to take the wrong arm of the wye just visible in the distance.

Will this finally be the route back to the Sub? Part 4 coming up. . .


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