Monday, July 6, 2020

“All Night Train”

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

April 6, 2017

Working through the night, here, in the smallest moments of midnight, droplets of a warming spring rain bless the new day as a grain-laden Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad eastbound necessarily, but ever so momentarily disturbes the peace as Engineer Bruce Butler nimbly rumbles his train through Creston, Washington where some 200 sleeping souls reside, giving notice of the train’s arrival and just as quickly, its departure at each of the don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it town’s six proximate grade crossings though there isn’t a living soul waiting to cross any of them save his conductor whose constant vigilance ensures the train moves over mile-upon-mile of right-of-way safely and efficiently conducting repeated trackside inspections as the train moves from town-to-town while spotting empties at or picking up loaded covered hoppers from under the myriad grain spouts along the line whether rainy morning, mid summer’s day heat, or dead of night. Such is the business of a railroader: foregoing, even sacrificing any normalcy to his private life. 

Sunday, July 5, 2020

“Just one more night and I’m comin’ off this long and winding road . . . I’m on my way.”

Guest post by Frederick Manfred Simon.

March 7, 2017

Track-speeding - just about to knock down milepost 98 - butted Eastern Washington Gateway 45’s and nineteen empties will drop down some 300 feet into cul-de-sac Coulee City in less than ten miles and thirty mikes at the deft hand of Engineer Ted Curphey as he skirts his train along the parallel-straight to the CW right-of-way belying its otherwise mostly-meandering-blacktop US Highway 2 just west of just waking Hartline as the day tantalizingly lifts her exquisite rosetta-négligée to bare her life-giving matrix to man, mammal, and melanchthon alike. Curphey and his conductor, having worked near 12 hours through the opaque darkness delivering cuts of cars - some here; more there - imposing their shattering grade-crossing-staccato, steel-wheel-screeching coupler-slack-clamour, and crisp comms-crackle on slumbering towns along the way, will spot what’s left of what was a 60 some-car-train down in Coulee under myriad seed-spouts then be on their way, comin’ off this long and winding road, dead-heading home for some much-needed rest in two-hours-time. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020