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An easy day, a little football and some lemonade

By B Smith

About 100 degrees in the shade this Friday afternoon. Just a short train today of four empties for kerrvillium loading and a caboose. The crew is happy about two things–a short train and Bob brought his usual cooler of fresh lemonade. Bob’s lemonade is kind of a ritual on warm Fridays. The Engineer Barry brings the train to a stop so Bob can line the switch for the crossover into the side track.  Looks like Bob has the switch lined and signals for Barry to come ahead.  Two loads of kerrvillium are ready to be picked up.

When the caboose clears the crossover switch, Bill walks back to line the train into the kerrvillium loading track.  Those Lazy W Ranch feed bins on the left of the road make it hard to see traffic on the road until the last moment.  The crew usually flags the crossing.

The train couples into the first load.  Bill walks to the second load while Beetle the conductor checks car numbers.

The two loads and caboose are shoved out onto the main track.  Bob signals “that’ll do” and Beaver, the new hire, attends to the derail.

The empties are then shoved onto the empty track, Bob making sure the two empties already there are not shoved off the end of the track (the track just has room for six of the short gons) and Barney pulls the pin and signals “take em ahead.”

The caboose and two loads are dragged from the main to the loading track to be picked up after three cars at the other end of town are pulled.  Looks like the engine has been uncoupled from the caboose.  Bob is about to set a hand brake on the caboose as Bill walks to the front of the locomotive.  He will help Barry get the locomotive across the crossing by watching for traffic on the fireman’s side as there is no fireman onboard today.  It is also a blind crossing with those Lazy W Ranch feed bins.

With the engine back on the mainline, the crew gets ready to go to the other end of town.  Bill has lined them down the main, Bob goes along to help.

An empty refer is coupled into at the Safeway distributor.  Bob cuts in the air as Bill walks to the point.

Two loaded box cars are then pulled from Western Wool and Mohair.

The two loads of kerrvillium and the caboose are picked up last.

Lemonade time. Bob pulls out the cooler of lemonade and the crew takes a short break in the shade of the caboose. Talk swirls about football as the NFL camps open. The group ponders whether the Cowboys can repeat as the Superbowl Champs after having defeated the Dolphins 24–3 to win their first Super Bowl. Barry who’s from California throws cold water all over that idea. He’s a 49er’s fan all the way. Beattle, a big Cowboy fan, wraps up the football session by saying, “As long as it ain’t those damn Redskins!”

Ice cold lemonade all gone, and it’s time to go back to work. The refreshed train crew pulls out onto the main, the switches are lined behind, an air test is made, and the return trip to San Antonio begins.


Published by CE Hunt

CE Hunt is a writer and artist based in Louisiana and the Washington, DC area. This page is designed to share updates and commentary on his work and to highlight other works that may be of interest.

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