The Brakeman, a young guy of about 30 something, said this robbery would bring Sumpter a little closer to receivership!! He was very knowledgable about everything on this train ... seems he's been working here since he was 12 years old!!!
Once in Sumpter, we headed down the hill to the Gold Dredge. This country is covered with rock piles left by this behemoth. The huge buckets to the right, scraped up the sand and gravel, transferring it to the trommel that screened the material. The fines were then sent through a sluice box and the collected sand and gold processed. With the high water table in this valley, it floated on the pond it created as it moved, digging ahead and depositing the tailings behind.
Four whistle blows signaled it was time to leave. Standing on the platform, I heard the Brakeman say "Jeremy, you can ride in the cab". I said "OH ... thank you!!! I would LOVE to ride in the cab!!" To my shock and amazement, he said "sure ... climb on in!" In two seconds I was up the ladder and parked in a corner. Here's Jim, the Engineer ... he gave me instruction on braking ... how it worked, what lever to pull and how to watch the gauges for brake pressure ... and why we didn't have any brakes because they were giving them problems right now!!! UH OH ... maybe I don't want to be here after all!!!
and added more wood!!!! Sitting up here, you can really feel the power. Getting up a little speed downhill felt a little free wheeling out of control, until we applied the brakes, which were sort of working!!
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end as we pulled into the McEwen station ... I got a big hug from Brett and a bigger hug from Jim. I climbed down the ladder, jumping up and down with excitement!!! I'll remember this once in a lifetime cab ride forever!!
I'm sorry Dan ... I know you would have liked to be in my place. I'm pretty sure it was the blond Nancy, sweet smile, eyelash batting, hip swivel that got me up there!!!