Who closed the switch



This most remarkable incident happened many years ago, and was told in a railroad magazine. One summer morning a twelve-car train containing the members of a Sunday school in eastern Missouri was bound for a picnic at a point about fifty miles distant. Although the sky was cloudless when the excursion started, the train had not proceeded more than half way when a thunderstorm broke. The rain fell in torrents. The engineer was worried for fear the terrific downpour might cause a washout or spreading of the rails, and he slowed down to about thirty-five miles an hour. As the train swung around a curve and approached a small station which it was to pass without stopping, the engineer, peering through the broken curtain of rain, saw that the switch ahead was open. It meant a terrible disaster. Instantly he closed the throttle and put on the brakes.

"Better stick to it," he shouted to the fireman, "hundreds of children are on board."

"I mean to," was the answer. "God help us all!"

His last words were drowned by a terrific crash of thunder which came with a flash of lightning that seemed to strike the ground just ahead of the engine. The next thing they knew they were past the station, still riding safely on the main-line rails.

The train came to a stop and the engineer and conductor hurried back to discover what had happened and how the train had passed the open switch. They found the lightning had struck squarely between the switch and the rail and had closed the switch. "It was the act of God," said the engineer. -- J. M. Farrar


From: EFFECTIVE ILLUSTRATIONS By William Moses Tidwell, Printed in U.S.A. 1943, Beacon Hill Press Kansas City, Mo.