Who needs the History Channel today? Turn off the TV, grab the kids and your raincoat and see history in the making. Today in downtown Berryville I had the privilege of watching poetry in motion (was that the name of a song?). Farmers, gardeners, and those of us with wells are most grateful for the rain. But, the employees and subcontractors working in this damp, wet, rainy, weather with the Norfolk Southern railroad, sure did not want it.
I was able to stand on the porch at the Berryville Farm Supply and stay relatively dry while I witnessed the uprooting of a railroad track buried deep in the ground. Wow, I stood in awe of the logistics of the operation. The whole process went like a well-choreographed dance.
My father was a Civil Engineer, a Soils Specialist. I am not exactly a stranger to roadwork as back in the day, I was able to go with dad to his job sites in the wilds of Alaska. I still marvel at the skill of those who operate steam shovels (at least as a little girl they were still called steam shovels). One comment on the porch where I was standing was that a skilled operator could pick up a stick of butter.
In tandem, the two steam shovels operators picked up about a 50 foot section of track and ties from the middle of Main Street and moved it about 150 feet, north up the track. Now I know where the saying ‘Smooth Operator’ comes from.
It made me smile to watch them work.
Now, mind you, all the time those two operators were doing their job, there were at least six other teams doing something else. One shovel was loading broken up asphalt in an awaiting dump truck, another backhoe operator was digging a hole, one backhoe operator was putting stone and soil into a trench, one team was working the electric box, one team was taking bolts out of the track to prepare for the next move. One guy used a high powered saw and cut 2 feet of steel off the end of a rail just as easy as hubby cuts a 2 x 4!
These were just my 30 minutes of observation. Can you imagine the weeks and months that went in to planning for these three days? Detour signs, rerouting, scheduling staff, scheduling trucks, stopping trains (Really? stopping trains from as far away as Ohio, New York and Georgia, mind boggling).
A target date was set and all were working toward these three days in April 22, April 23 and April24.
What is it they say?
“The best laid schemes of mice and men…”
Looks like Mother Nature had other plans.
But once the show starts, there are no intermissions, no waiting, no hoping for good weather.
Wishing them a hot meal and a warm shower at the end of the day. I am sure they would not turn down hot (coffee/tea/cocoa) and cookies.