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It's a Bird, It's a Train, It's an Accord!


dperone
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We were called this morning by the local State Police station for "an abandoned car in the woods" about 20 miles away from us. The area it was in has a lot of trails so we were thinking someone joy riding in the woods, car breaks down and they take off. Sent a driver out there and he found quite the opposite story.

 

Apparently a car had a brake failure as the driver approached a stop sign and he launched the car over a train track and into the woods approx. 130 feet, hitting a couple trees in the process at a height above my head. He was fine, the train tracks were fine, and even the woods were fine, but the car was toast. I took a ride out to see what we were dealing with and to come up with a plan of attack.

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He came down the road that my truck was on and jumped these tracks

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The trees were still intact between our only access point and the car which hampered our recovery plan.

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We called one of our customers who actually rents this track in the winter to do a Santa ride, and he made the notifications to Conrail that we were going to be operating on their track. They flagged it and let us know that they had no trains scheduled to be on the rails until mid week. Not knowing who actually owned the trees we needed removed we askedthe State Police track down the appropriate parties about removing the trees. The owner of the car offered to do all the tree removal to save himself some coin and just use us to winch the car out and tow it away. We decided to let the SP and the owner figure out the property issue and advised them to call when they were ready for us, figuring it would be a few days to get a hold of someone from the state. A little over 2 hours later they called back and said they were ready, so we went back out to remove the car. 

 

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My plan was to winch the car straight out of the path he cut for us, spin it at the end to get away from the switch in the rail, then load it on a flatbed hopefully missing the rail in the process.

 

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Surprisingly it worked exactly how I envisioned it. It offered minimal resistance the whole time, even when we ramped the rear end over the tracks using blocks to avoid hitting the rails. The only hiccup we had was we couldn't get the bed as close to the tracks as I originally thought we would because of the angle the car came out at. We elected to leave the front hang off the bed until we could clear the rail and reposition the car. The troopers started on scene videoing our recovery so they could prove we didn't contact the rails at all and one walked the entire length we were working around with his body cam to show we left the area damage free. Once it was loaded and we were paid we headed for home with our new catch.

 

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6 hours ago, EdsTowing said:

Dam that was an interesting one...Glad you got paid.

Me too, especially when it originally came in as an abandoned car. Kudos to the trooper for tracking down the RO and staying with us until he was sure we were getting paid. I'm pretty sure the guy was just happy to avoid a DUI since the crash happened the day before it was reported.

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