The Lucky Moose

by Bill Bailey

My friend and co-worker on the 0630 Fairbanks yard told me about this moose incident that happened to him on June 11, 1999. He was the conductor on a south bound coal job leaving Fairbanks and destined for Usibelli Tipple. Since we are having daylight round the clock this time of year nothing goes unnoticed, especially the roaming about of all the animals. This trip involved two moose, momma and her new young calf.  As the train proceeded south with 11 empty cars, the crew had only passed a few mileposts, when suddenly the cow and calf appeared ahead on the rails.  Grabbing some air the engineer slowed and momma moose ran off the rail and into the clear. The little guy wasn`t as quick and not knowing what this huge rumbling noisey creature bearing down on it was it tried to out run the train.  The engineer went into emergency and it seemed the train would stop in time but the little moose was over run and disappeared under the plow!  Fearing the worse, the conductor walked back along the train and when he got to the second locomotive, which was married back to back to the lead loco, he sees this little moose all rolled up under the plow. It was rollin` its eyes and lookin` plenty scared. The conductor eyed up the situation and with some pushin` and shoving he got the little moose free. It was so tiny it stood up under the locomotive, a GP40. It was standing up in the space between the plow and the traction motor! The two eyed each other then the little fella stepped out and scampered off into the brush. Both crew members were sure happy to see this lucky moose survive. Let's hope it stays clear of the main track from now on!


© 1999 Bill Bailey