I’d noticed this very strange deep humming over the last hour or so and was sort of ignoring it. I then decided to bring out the trash and when I was outside I realized it was the unmistakable sound of an idling locomotive. An odd sound since the only train tracks are the supposedly-defunct ones at the bottom of the woods across from my apartment. These are the tracks that pass next to the Fresh Pond Trail and never in the two years I’ve been here have I seen or heard a train on them. I run on the trail quite frequently, crossing the tracks at least twice each time, and on the contrary I’ve noticed the types of overgrowth on the tracks one would typically associate with an unused line. However, there most certainly was something big and loud down there in the cold dark woods. Since I knew the only way I’d get any sleep tonight was to go down there and see for myself, I donned a scarf and hat, grabbed my camera, and headed down to take a look-see.
As I descended down through the very small patch of woods, I was basically following my ears because it was mighty dark down there aside from some snow-reflected moonlight and an eerie incandescent glow coming from the side of the Thing Making The Noise.
The Thing was, sure enough, a locomotive.. with a few cars behind it. And it was stuck and spewing out bits of fire from the top of itself (as locomotives are wont to do). As is usual for my train experiences, no humans were evidently present. I did not knock on the side of the locomotive or the cars to find out, because idling trains sort of freak me out (especially at night, especially in the woods, especially on supposedly-abandoned rail lines, etc. etc.) I am not an engineer, but the train appeared to have derailed. Since I did not have a tripod and no substantive light was available, I could not capture any photographs from the side or front of the train. I was, however, able to grab a couple from above by setting the shutter speed very slow and steadying the camera on top of a footbridge: pic 1 and pic 2. These suck but you’ll get the drift. Yes, Virginia, that’s fire, but not as much as it looks like.
I am speculating that some dude made a wrong turn back near Alewife and is now trying to figure out what he’s going to tell his boss. No idea, really. But I am hoping the thing doesn’t explode and/or isn’t transporting nerve gas, because I’m now going to try to get some sleep since my curiosity has been (partially) satiated.