A Derailed Conclusion………#89 (the 60’s)

video at:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yahDweWBA28

Troy Elledge & The Rythmn Tamers

Frederick Train Depot

It was a night off for the Rhythm Tamers band in Frederick, Gary, guitarist Jerry Willis and a wanna-be vocalist named Harry Babich, were  somewhat indecisive of how to spend the evening.   The town of Davidson, two miles from the Texas line, was an exiguous twelve miles south and the Oklahoma hamlet of Manitou, eight miles north,  both on Highway 1 83,  the musicians were not interested in the boulevard that aphotic night,  but in the spur line of the M-K-T, better known as the Katy Railroad.   They were planning an escapade,  contingent upon Jerry’s 1952 Oldsmobile and the M-K-T railroad tracks.

M-K-T Locomotive makes a good tow truck

1952 Olds

It was a little known reality, the 1952 Olds wheel base was compatible with the width of the rails addressing the Missouri Kansas Texas line.   The three harlequins were about to accost a crossing in Frederick and attempt to position the four-wheeled transport, the 1952 Olds, on the tracks, either heading south towards Texas,  or north to Manitou.  A discussion deciding that it might be better to remain in Oklahoma,  the decision being confirmed,  Jerry aligning the vehicle on the tracks in a northern direction.   A final procedure remained,  lowering the tire pressure to allow the tread to better augment the tracks, the car fitting perfectly.

All three aboard,  the Oldsmobile making that clickety-clack sound reminisce of the rhythmic posturing of a train.  The three vagabonds traversing north, the scenic view of the farming landscape all bathe in the twilight of the setting sun passing in review.   Jerry, hands clear of the steering wheel, leaving their four wheel transports acuity to the amaranthine rails.   The group knowing there were six mile-section crossing between Frederick and Manitou, a discussion about exiting before entering the Manitou trivial station was entertained.  A more novel approach would be to cruise thru Manitou, waving and sounding the horn, seeing the reaction of the station master,  but a decision was already applicable.

Then it was noticed, looking down the tracks the brilliance of a large approaching light, its  distance was closing, an oncoming train.   The next mile-section found the opportunity to disembark from the tracks, but hesitating they noticed that the suspected locomotive had chanced to a standstill.   It was discerned,  the engine must have paused at the Manitou station, the three acknowledging it was either time to get off the tracks or remount the rails heading south back to Frederick.  The decision was made, remounting the tracks once again, the clickety-clack resonated as the Oldsmobile picked up speed and all seemed well.   Suddenly there was a jolt and all that could be seen was tall grass advancing by the car door windows and then an eery silence as the Olds came to a halt.

Gary and Jerry

Jerry and Gary opening their doors the two surveying the situation and it appeared arduous,  the rear of the car extended over the tracks,  the front reclining against an embankment.   There remained no driveable exit, the car was caught between a rock and a hard place.  Jerry was anxious, walking back and forth repeating several times,  “the train, the train.  Searching the horizon, a light in a farm-house was determined just across the bordering pasture, Gary suggesting to Jerry that he arouse the occupants and inquire if there might be a tractor available to extract the car from its precarious position. Jerry hasten up the slight embankment and immediately headed toward the country abode.  It was then Gary noticed, the large arrested light down the tracks was again acquiring adjacency, the train had resumed it travel.

The derailed Oldsmobile was about twenty yards from the mile-section crossing and it was apparent, the lower profile of the tracks in the intersection more than likely contributed to the derailment.  In the moonlight Jerry could be seen returning,  crossing the field with another person,  Gary going to the mile-section crossroad waiting to flag the slow-moving freight to a halt.  The approaching train coming to a standstill, the farmer and Jerry arriving as the engineer and fireman disembarked, both appraising the circumstances with a humorous grin.  Not the case with the conductors’ arrival, a harden look on his face, commencing a dissertation on the legal infractions and threatening a radio invitation to the highway patrol.

The Katy-line crew huddling, the conductor instructing the engineer to maneuver the locomotive to within ten feet of the car,  producing a length of chain from the train, fastening one end to the Engine the other to the rear bumper of the Olds.  With the car in neutral, the lumbering locomotive slowly backed toward the intersection,  dragging its captive.  The conductor continued with his articulation,  penning Jerry name and information in a notebook,  finally the forlorn auto was clear of the off-road tracks now residing at the intersection.  The conductor serving notice that if he ever confronted them again the results would be different.

The M-K-T diesel locomotive with it host of cars once again resuming its journey  south,  the two musicians thankful there were no casualties.  But still something wasn’t right, with all the excitement they suddenly remembered, they were missing someone, having totally forgotten, a questionable look on their face, “Where’s Harry!?  From out of the bushes a disheveled Harry Babich appeared, having remained in hiding throughout the precarious incident.   Later with some forethought about the episode,  Gary concluded,  irresponsibility can accommodate a derailed conclusion.

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