Train carrying nuclear cargo overheats |

Train carrying nuclear cargo overheats

Available Frank began a job he had to figure out as he went along. The train car with the nuclear products was attached at the end of the train to a caboose. An armed military person had to be in the watchtower of the caboose 24/7 to keep an eye on the train car. Thus began a long, hot, frustrating trip on a caboose attached to a car of nuclear components.

The first problem started shortly after pulling out, and they hadn’t gotten very far when suddenly the caboose filled with smoke. Coughing and with his eyes burning, and trying to figure out what was happening, the train finally came to a halt. It seemed the caboose had gotten a “hotbox” and caught on fire. Dandy, Frank thought.

The two cars could not continue, so they were disengaged from the train and left there until another engine could come and get them to take them to Kansas City.

Seemingly abandoned in the middle of nowhere, the sun beat down on Frank as he paced alongside the rail car full of nuclear stuff. From time to time, Frank could kick a thistle but that was about all there was alongside that train track. There wasn’t a lick of shade and all he and his three men could do was cuss. Finally, an engine came for them and took them to the rail yard in Kansas City, which was the biggest, emptiest place Frank had ever seen, miles of track as far as the eye could see. The engine simply stopped and left the car with the nuclear components and the caboose in the vast rail yard. Frank guessed the temperature was way over 100 degrees and when looking in any direction, all he saw was rail line with heat waves dancing off them. Finally, Frank flagged down someone to take him to the rail yard headquarters.

Looking disheveled, his uniform wrinkled, damp and smoke smudged, his face streaked with smoke encrusted sweat, Frank entered the headquarters and faced a gray-haired receptionist who looked at Frank as if he were the Slime Monster From The Black Lagoon. After reassuring her that he was an officer in the United States Army, Frank explained their situation.

The superintendent for the rail yard arrived and Frank told him that he and his men were stuck out on the rail yard and were near the broiling point and so, too, was the train car with nuclear components.

The superintendent brought a bunch of fans out to the caboose and then put his hands on his hips as he looked at the rail car Frank guarded. “Do you want fans in that car too?” he asked.

Frank got in his face and snapped, “Don’t you touch that car.”

The superintendent nodded. “How about food?”

“That would be great,” Frank said.

E-mail comments about this story to

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User