I remember that day well. I was working for the railroad and I told my crew (I was a supervisor at the time)
"We're going to NYC"
10 days later we arrived and did not leave for 9 months. At the time I ran a very powerful vacuum cleaner that removed debris and mud from the track. It worked very well in the subway tunnels that were filled with choking cement dust that was pulverized as the towers came down.
As you can imagine we worked in the basement of those buildings basically and sucked up some of the debris, conveyed it into a dump car and hauled it back across the river. I think later it was transported over to the Fresh Kills Landfill where teams of people sorted through it.
It was not fun. It was not easy on the crew either. We went through quite a few guys, either through out and out quitting or transfers to other crews in different parts of the country. A few weeks ago I posted a rather hard to write thread about my wife leaving, my parents house burning and my sister being killed in a car accident, all around the same time in 2004. Helping out with the 9-11 incident had its toll as well even though it was a year or so later.
In some ways its great to say my career as a railroader helped this nation in its time of need. That is I had a machine, a crew and a career that could do some good. Mostly though it was a solemn 9 months of railroad work. There was 4 of us on that machine and we would work 12 hour shifts and hardly say anything to each other even though we were 40 feet underground in a rather small tunnel. Even now I don't talk about it.
Here is a picture of the working end of that Railvac as it was called. I have better pics of it, but nothing I can readily link to.
Last edited by Travis Johnson; 09-13-2007 at 11:45 PM.
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"