On my way to work on November 18, 2009, the dispatcher calls to inform me I72 left a track indication between Attica and Marshfield. After obtaining Track Authority, I put my hyrail truck on the rail and found my first broken rail this autumn. This is not a typical broken rail; most are simple vertical breaks and once temporary bars are installed, trains are generally allowed to run over the break at 10 MPH until the rail is replaced. In this case, however, the seven inch gap was deemed to be too great and the rail had to be replaced before train movements could resume. I want to make it clear that broken rails occur on a daily basis and this does NOT reflect poor or substandard maintenance practices on Norfolk Southern.
P.S. to my original comments above: The posting of this photo resulted in me being pulled out of service on November 24th. Fortunately, my union was able to get me back to work within a few hours, however, my ultimate "punishment" was a two-week suspension without pay. Considering my "clean" and exemplary work record up to this point (28 years), I considered this to be harsh and unjustified punishment, but that's the way it was on Norfolk Southern. I finally retired on March 1st of this year, and I'm simply honoring my vow that this photo would be reposted once I retired. Am I "bitter" towards Norfolk Southern? Absolutely not. They put the "food on the table" for 34 years and I really needed that two-week vacation! Looking back on it now, I grin and think, "Thanks to the top Engineering Management at Norfolk Southern; you know who you are!"