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March 1998 - Page 52

ABOVE: N an's span lifts to
make way for traffic below.

BELOW: March snow provides
a backdrop for units 203 and 271, hauling 10 cars on No. 171.

t he poles " felt like they were in concrete," referring to those that had been anchored in sand for decades. The poles were set 1 00 feet apart, or 52 to a mile. He and trackman Dick Mallett were doing the grunt labor. Nelson said they would con tinue working for at least another month, performing such housekeeping chores all the way to View I n terlocking, a distance of

nearly 1 7 route m i les. Then they would go back to Shaw's Cove and work eastward. All the trains were moving on track 1 . T here was enough t i m e between train s so one w o u l d not b e h e l d at e i t h e r S h a w 's Cove or View to wai t for another to clear the s i ngle track layout whi le Chris owned track 2 . N o . 1 7 1 flew out of the fog and was gone in an instant. So did each train that foHowed, all day. Even the relatively slow P&W freight NR-2 appeared like a ghost-first a headlight stabbing the grayness, then a barely imper ceptible locomotive. Even then, the N R-2 was only a few feet away, but the fog was so thick there was still gray, gray mist between the freight train and me. On that day, it car ried seven loads and three empties, including three "dangerous" cars, tanks placarded as containing potentially hazardous chemicals. Two of the cars were loaded, PROX 98602 and C ITX 24046, but another, C ITX 34 1 90, w a s e m p t y. A l l w e r e U . N . - c o d e d a s 1 07 5-propane gas. The rest of the day was routine; the trains came and went on time. But these quiet days were coming to an end. Soon, the fishing and pleasure b o a t s woul d be goi n g to a n d fro as t h e w e a t he r warmed. Tracks would be taken o u t of service for re pairs; bridge work would be done; more concrete ties would be inserted; and switch replacements would be needed at the hand-operated s i te s . It looked as i f it would be an incredible summer . . . around the clock.

5 2 M arch 1998

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