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C&NW Coal Train Wreck at Augusta Station

All photos by Glenn Koproske May 3,2003

All you model railroaders know how it is. You put a new train on the tracks, get them all coupled, and turn the knob. You hope to make it at least one lap. Along the way, you turn troublesome cars end for end, swap the running order of the engines, and get out the brite boy and go over track where the headlights flicker.

Now it should be time to set the throttle and let them run. Time after time the train runs its route, and with each course you build an inner sense of satisfaction. My trains are running unattended for all to admire, you say to yourself.

You even step outside for a break and find time to chat with your friends. You finally remember your train, and thinking the worst you hurry back inside to the train room, to discover that everything is still running smoothly. Time to get to work on the layout.

After a long while, you hear a regretably familiar sound. The crunch and clunk of plastic impacting plastic. It was inevitable.

There are some basic laws of model railroading, and one of the most frequently encountered is that trains derail only when someone is looking. Further down the list, it is a fundamental truth that no train runs unattended forever.

There is an obscure law that one hardly thinks about, but is actually a good thing that happens when something bad takes place. A molded hopper car load does not spill coal all over the place.

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