Fateful Day

Ian Primmer


 A beautiful day between the railroad tracks, light glimmering and shining throughout the cab, I see eagles flying and deer hopping from left to right, Conductors laughing and joking his future is bright, what a beautiful day to simply move freight, I pull the throttle all the way back clear to run 8, approaching 50 MPH how could I know her fate?

This just can’t be, trouble ahead in the distance, sun piercing metal in my eyes, is it kids just goofing around again? Is it maintenance work up ahead? if I don’t plug it now what’s ahead could be dead, another quick look to examine, what this all could be, suddenly my stomach tied full of knots notifies me.

There’s something ahead, out of the usual, I grab the automatic air brake in an effort to drop, speed drops slowly but it’s so hard to stop, 18, 935 tons, pressure wheels of locomotives, pushing us further and faster into what lies ahead, steel on steel are bunching slack, as we approach a dark green minivan with kids in the back, I blow the horn loudly frantically screaming -- move off the tracks! It’s clear she can’t hear or see me,

It hurts, it sucks, I don’t know what to do, the train pushing me harder and faster right in to you, all the brakes applied, with the ditch lights on bright, have I missed a step? Is there more I can do? 
All handles are pushed forward, helplessly hoping and praying that we don’t hit you, the power inching closer, I watch the speed, 24 MPH is not slow enough for me,

I can smell the brake shoes I’ve given all we’ve got, what’s taking seconds feels like an eternity, every breath inside of me hopes you will still move, inching closer and closer right in to you, 

I close my eyes I can’t bear to see, I hear the sound of crushing metal and it tortures me, the power still moving, our windshield is cracked, I’d give anything to take this all back, had one thing changed, or a change in the schedule maybe this wouldn’t have happened...

The train finally stops, I glance at my conductor, no longer joking with no story to tell, wondering what’s happened in a living hell, we are scared to de-board and find what we’ll see, but we know we need to hurry to see if we can help, we call emergency services, and run many cars back, a bloody mess all over the railroad tracks, no movement not a sound, a frightful sight for eyes to see, a horrible experience forever changing me. 

  • Author: Ian Primmer (Offline Offline)
  • Published: May 16th, 2018 17:24
  • Comment from author about the poem: Please be mindful when crossing railroad tracks, it is not only your life on the line, we railroad employee's are forever changed as well.
  • Category: Sad
  • Views: 25
  • User favorite of this poem: AlexHoy.
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  • AlexHoy

    Damn bro this writing was deep and very well written. One of my favorite poems that I’ve read on this site for sure.

  • Ian Primmer

    Thank you

  • SLR

    This tells the other side. My uncle's brakes went out on his motorcycle and he crashed into a train. I also had a friend that that's how he committed suicide, he stepped in front of a passing train. Both were shocking and horrendous. But people rarely talk about the effect it must have on train conductors and engineers. Lots of feeling here, thank you for posting.

    • Ian Primmer

      I’m deeply sorry for your loss.

    • Ian Primmer

      Thank you Lawless, we see some terrifying things out there on the road. Your experience and input are truly valued, thanks again!

    • ForeverJesus7

      Being a train conductor seems like such an easy job. The pictures make it seem as though you just sit there while the train does all the work. I am sure is much more complicated than that.
      Persistence is key

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