on the railroad bridge
a yellow maintenance train
huffing on the tracks
A lot of maintenance trains have been passing through our little town lately, some in convoys of single machines, others with several machines coupled together. Cheerfully bright yellow, they have much more character than the long coal cars or oil tankers. This one is stopped on the underpass bridge, huffing quietly. I pull into the KRUU parking lot with its pink flamingos on the other side of the bridge and get out to take a closer look, walking up the hill to the tracks. No one is in sight. I wonder if they've stopped for a lunch break in Fairfield, famous for its many restaurants.
At the east end, a LORAM engine, in pushing position.
In front of the engine, a gigantic pair of digger wheels with sharp teeth. The sign warns:
DIGGING WHEELS MAY THROW
MATERIAL AWAY FROM THE MACHINE
In front of the digger wheels, a long chute for feeding the diggings into another car. Danger signs posted everywhere, including:
DANGER LIVE TRACK
DANGER MOVING MACHINERY
DANGER AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY
The chute dumps into a holding car.
On the far end, a car with what looks like a conveyor belt, the end hovering over a white tanker, and then a plain yellow car at the head of the line.
As I climb back down the hill, I stop to admire the flowing tracery of a maple's black limbs and golden leaves superimposed on the bright yellow, unmoving moving machine.