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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Little Engine That Couldn't - Part 4

After a scary, mostly backwards ride over the trestle and down through the tunnel and switchbacks, Engine 7358 retraced the rails through Northdale and into Miller for coal and water. After being well fed at the logging camp, the conductor refused to let any passengers off at Miller this time. Backing out of Miller on the arm of the wye leading to Northdale, the train stopped to let the con-ductor throw the switch that allowed it to run down the only direc-tion left that might lead to the Sub. But will it? Nobody knew!

Well, hello!  What do we have here?  It's a Mack railbus and Engine 7358 certainly knew that no railbus travelled on the Sub. With a snort of its diesel, the railbus answered the conductor's question of where they were with a "find out yourself!" So the discouraged little train continued its quest to find that certain switch that would lead it back home to the Sub.

As it travelled along unfamiliar tracks, Engine 7358 spotted some scantily clad figures sunning themslves on top of a water tower up ahead. Pulling on the Johnson bar, the train speeded up, hoping that the passengers wouldn't notice as they raced by this sight. Since he didn't blow his whistle, Engine 7358 knew that the whistles he was hearing must be from the passengers. What kind of a railroad are we on anyhow?  Nobody knew!

Oh my!  This railroad is worse than the last one for tunnels and high bridges. How Engine 7358 longed for the flat landscape and open sky of the Sub as it chugged up the grades. The little train continued to pass by stations with names that the conductor and passengers didn't recognize, worried that they would perhaps meet another train on one of the mountain curves.

Finally, the little train came to a yard with two big red Ontario Western diesels idling nearby. The conductor hailed one of the engineers and asked, "Which way to the Sub?"  The diesels answered by revving up a couple of notches and blasting the little train out of the yard with their Nathan airhorns. Engine 7358 didn't notice the steam locomotive behind the diesels as it quickly left. It might have been a bit friendlier but nobody knew.
Stay tuned for Part 5 . . . .



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