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a roll by inspection
Tales of the rails

A roll by inspection

Jim L. Rueber

After the CGW/CNW merger on July 1st, 1968 the CNW moved some of their own officials to the different terminals on the former CGW. Gene Knecht was a CNW Traveling Engineer and he was stationed at Des Moines, Iowa. One day he drove his car down to Cumming, Iowa to look things over and maybe conduct an efficiency test or two.

Just as he drove into Cumming he saw a northbound freight coming into town so he got out of his car and was standing track side to give them a roll by inspection. After about half the train had passed his location Gene just about did a double flip when he notice a car go by and there was no wheels under one end of the car. He quickly ran to his car and got on the radio to tell the engineer to bring them to an easy stop.

Gene then started walking toward the headend of the train to check out this car where he was met by the head Brakeman. They found an empty gon with the complete set of trucks missing from under one end of the car. The gon was equipped with tightlock couplers and was coupled into a car also equipped with tightlock couplers and that was what was holding up the one end of the empty gon. After the conductor walked up to join Gene and the head brakeman it was decided that they would back the train up real careful to the north siding switch and set out the empty gon and the car that was holding it up.

Just after they managed to get the two cars set out the track supervisor showed up and he put his Hi-Rail truck on the track and proceeded south. He had gone almost 25 miles when near Peru, Iowa he found the missing set of trucks had gone down the bank after being kicked out from under the train. Only a few bolts had to be replaced in the track.


Copyright 1998,99 Tom Tolstead