“Never mind eating,” called Ned. “Come on, watch ’em. We can get a bite afterward.”
“Not for mine,” sung out Bob, as he made a dive for the dining car. “I’ll be with you pretty soon.”
“There he goes again,” remarked Ned with a sigh. “I couldn’t eat when there’s any excitement going on. I want to see how they get the cars on the track.”
“So do I.” said Jerry.
They pressed on to where, by means of powerful hydraulic jacks, men were busy raising up the engine, which, because of its weight, had sunk quite deeply into the ground. The jacks were small, but one man worked the handle, which pumped water from one part of it to another, and elevated a piston, that, in turn was forced up with terrible pressure, thus raising one end of the ponderous locomotive.
When the wheels were clear of the earth other men slipped under them some peculiar shaped pieces of iron, so arranged that when the locomotive was pulled or pushed ahead by another engine, the wheels would slip upon the rails.
In turn each of the wheels of the engine and tender were so fixed. Then word was given the engineer of the relief train to back down and haul the derailed locomotive back on to the track.
“All ready?” called the foreman of the wrecking crew.
“All ready,” replied the engineer.
Jerry and Ned, in common with scores of others, were straining forward to watch every detail of the task. They wanted to see whether the locomotive would take to the rails, or slip off the inclined irons, and again settle down upon the ground.
“Let her go, Bill,” called the foreman to the engineer of the wrecking crew.
There was a warning whistle, a straining of heavy chains, creakings and groanings from the derailed engine as if it objected to being pulled and hauled about, then the ponderous driving wheels began to turn slowly.
“Stand clear, everybody!” cried the foreman.
At that moment Bob came running up, using the back of his hand as a napkin for his lips.
“There she goes!” was the loud cry.
As the crowd looked, they saw the derailed and helpless engine give a sort of shudder and shake, mount the inclined pieces of iron, and then slide upon the rails, settling down where it belonged.
“Hurrah!” cried the passengers, in recognition of a hard task well accomplished.
“Well, I’m glad that’s over,” announced the foreman. “Now boys, hustle, and we’ll get the cars on, and the line will be clear.”
It did not take long to get the cars on the rails, as they were lighter. The damaged engine was switched off to one side, some rails, which had been displaced when the train bumped off, were spiked down, and the wreck was a thing of the past.
“All aboard!” called the conductor. “All aboard! Step lively now!”
The relief engine was not a fast one, being built more for power than speed, and the train had to proceed along rather slowly. But the boys did not mind this, as they had plenty to talk about, and they were interested in the country through which they were traveling.