Page:Ralph on the Railroad.djvu/689

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"I can suggest only one thing, Mr. Griscom," he said.

"Out with it, lad, there is not a moment to lose," hurriedly directed the old engineer.

"Get onto the main, back down north, set the switch here to turn the runaways onto the siding."

"But suppose No. 48 gets here first?"

"Then we must take the risk, start south till she reaches the danger signals, and sacrifice our engine, that is all," said Ralph plainly.

It was a moment of intense importance and strain. In any event, unless the unexpected happened, No. 48 or their own locomotive would be destroyed. On the coming passenger were men, women and children.

"Duty, lad," said Griscom, in a kind of desperate gasp. "We must not hesitate. Pile in the black diamonds and hope for the best. If we can reach the creek before the runaways, we can switch them onto a spur. It means a smash into the freights there. But anything to save the precious lives aboard the night passenger from Stanley Junction."

They ran on slowly, then, gaining speed, got a full head of steam on the cylinders. At a curve the bridge lights came into view.

"What do you see?" demanded Griscom, his hand trembling on the throttle, wide open now.