Rerailing a Steam Locomotive

Today we had two classes of local schoolkids visit the layout on a field trip. Fifty plus children generate a lot of excitement. Fifty plus schoolkids also generate a lot of questions. I give the kids a lot of credit – all but a very few of their questions were on the money. I did pretty good answering their questions. However one young lady stumped me when she asked if locomotives ever came off the track. That was easy, “Yes.” Had I ever been on a train that had come off the tracks? Again easy, “Yes.” I have been on the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad which ran six hours late because of two derailments.Then she asked, “How do they get them back on the rails?”.  Now if she’s asked what are the rules for a pooling of interest I’d have nailed it. Alas, this accountant couldn’t answer her question. As is my wont I wrote the question down and started searching for an answer. Rather than bore you with a lousy answer Have a look at this vid.

The vid is from the Fort Wayne historical Society. The volunteer crew made up of veteran railroaders, experienced mechanics and new recruits wrangled their 200-ton steam locomotive back on the rails. This was not an easy way to spend a Saturday. For those curious, the boiler was filled with compressed air to help move the locomotive.

Having watched the video twice my new answer is, “With a great deal of difficulty.”