It has taken a few days to start putting my plan into action. There are still a lot of huge gaping holes in this plan, but I feel better doing something rather than tagging along behind a slow-motion run away train I can do nothing about.
So I backtracked up the line again back to that large-ish town and found what I was looking for. Sitting a couple of platforms over from the line that Adam’s train is on was an abandoned train. The engine was at the other end as their one, not that I think that mattered much but it means I’ll be reversing all the way, and it had six carriages. I spent a whole day working out how the carriages connect to one another, and disconnected all but one carriage. It’s all hidden behind a rubberised accordion-like piece that runs up one side, across the top and down the other side of every join in the train. Once I figured out how to remove this I was able to see the inner workings of the mechanics. This really helped solidify one of the parts of the plan I was completely unsure of: How to rescue the others.
The next few days I spent finding usable diesel for the engine, draining the rancid stuff that was already in it and replacing it, firing up the engine and having a bit of a practice. I then spent the rest of the afternoon fighting off the damn slovs that came lurking about, attracted by the noise.
The final day was spent working out all the switching points. I needed to get my train over several tracks and on to the track that Adam’s train was on, plus I needed to get the extra carriages I don’t want out of the way and on to a different track. Back in the day all of the points were electronic, and computerised. It doesn’t help that there hasn’t been electricity, let alone track maintenance, in the last several years. My rebar came in handy for more than poking the brains out of zombies. I had to use it to physically leverage several of the points across to allow my train to link up to the right track.
It took a lot of backwards and forwards-ing to get rid of those surplus carriages so I only have the one now, if you don’t count the carriage that has my engine and cab in it, but it’ll all be worth it.
Now I’m on the right track, I’m pretty confident in catching them. For one thing I doubt they’re bothering to change the points in the track after they pass them, so my train will simply follow the exact track they have picked out for themselves. Secondly, with them crawling along, clearing any debris off the track, I’m fairly certain not to hit any major blockages, so can get up to a better speed than them to catch up. Finally, and best of all, they don’t know I’m coming. I don’t even think they have rear-vision mirrors, so they won’t have a clue I’m sneaking up on them in a ruddy great locomotive.