Tonight in Grand Central at 25 track (Operations Office):
Operations Manager: Mr. McDonough, we need you and your engineer to bring 10 deadhead cars (no passengers) to New Haven. But there's a situation...A RAT has been spotted running around the south car in the engineer's cab.
Me: Like in the cab where I have to do the brake test?
Operations Manager: Yep!
Me: Like in the cab where I have to do the reverse move when we get to New Haven?
Operations Manager: Yep, that would be the cab... Oh, and don't leave your railroad bag on the floor. We don't want you bringing home any pets.
I half-expected the 4 guys in the office to suddenly burst out laughing...maybe an early start to April Fool's Day. Perhaps, I thought, one of them discovered my rodent-phobia from reading my blog post (below), and they were just having a little fun with me.But their faces remained stone-cold sober.
Radio transmission in New Haven:
"New Haven Station to Metro North train 5588 Do you have a rodent onboard?. Over!"
"Metro North Train 5588 -Yes, sir...that's the story. I haven't seen it...but I really haven't been looking. Over!"
"Metro North Station to 5588...I don't blame you. Over and Out!"
It wasn't easy backing up a train in New Haven with one hand on the emergency brake whilst waiting for Willard to spring into action. No rat appeared, but it was easily the longest reverse move of my railroad career.