Recovering a vehicle off railroad tracks can be a tricky maneuver.  I was reminded recently of one I did several years ago.  An inebriated driver had driven into an industrial area, where about 8,000 sets of railroad tracks cross, ran alongside, and, in some cases, ran down the middle of roads.  One set of tracks forked off to the right, and he mistook it for the road and made it about 50 yards down the tracks with his mid-70s Ford Torino before getting stuck.  The County Sheriff's Deputy arrested him and called for a tow truck.  When I got there, I turned my truck around to winch the car out the way it went in.  I ran my cable out, fixed a recovery chain on the vehicle, attached the cable, and walked back to my truck.  It was a nice, clear evening, and everything was calm in the deserted industrial district.

I had engaged the winch and just pulled up the slack when the Deputy jumped out of his car and ran over to me.  "How long is this going to take?" he asked, very excited.

"I'm not sure," I answered, "Ten, fifteen minutes."

His eyes opened wide.  "A train is going to be here in three minutes!"

My mind started racing.  Did I even have time to let out the slack, disengage the winch, run over and unhook the winch cable, and move the tow truck off the tracks?  Or would I have to abandon the truck to save myself?  I had to try to get the truck off the tracks, but every second I stood there frozen was one less second I had to act.  The Deputy saw the panic on my face and held his composure for several seconds before bursting into laughter.

He was kidding.

He had waited for that perfect moment, when the cable was tight and I was standing at the rear of the tow truck, where it would take the maximum amount of time to disengage and vacate, and he knew he had gotten me good.

I guess even Sheriff's Deputies need to find a way to amuse themselves at Midnight on a Tuesday night.

Have a safe and profitable week.

Nick Kemper

Amber Gray
4/1/2012 12:26:20 pm

This was a very entertaining story.


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