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The radio crackled as an assertive and calm voice made a call for help, “Fort Worth Mechanical, this is BNSF forty-three eleven West.” (We later learned that the voice belonged to the BNSF engineer of a westbound manifest train. His name is Leonard.) In short order the reply came in loud and clear, “Fort Worth Mechanical, go ahead BNSF forty-three eleven West.” (Fort Worth Mechanical is BNSF’s Mechanical Department which is based in Fort Worth, Texas and is a help-desk of sorts for the operating crews out on the rails.) Leonard then proceeded to describe the predicament that he, his conductor, and their manifest train were in, some thirty-five miles west of the crew change point at Needles, California, “I keep getting a wheel-slip alarm on one of the units. If I go over 5 miles-per-hour then the alarm goes off.”

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