The Little Train That Couldn't

Vintage train jumps the tracks, stranding passengers

A vintage train jumped the tracks, turning a Father's Day outing into an unexpected adventure for some families in Delaware.

About 150 passengers were aboard the Wilmington and Western Railroad train, when the engine and an empty car derailed.

The conductor first told passengers they were "experiencing a slight mishap," said passenger Kathleen Salam. "Later, he confessed," a smiling Salam told Delaware Online.

The train derailed at Faulkland Road near West Spice Mill Lane.

"It's kind of eventful. It's a special moment, I guess," said passenger Ray Longwood.

No one was hurt. Passengers were stranded during the late afternoon until a "doodlebug" train (a one-car shuttle) could get them back to the station. It had to make three trips and women and children did get to go first.

The last time the Wilmington and Western derailed was 15 years ago, according to Carol Wells who helps run the all-volunteer railroad.

"We've had to call in a crane to lift the diesel up. There's no way we could have done this by ourselves," said Wells.

Most everyone was good-natured about the derailment. Denise Waldie told the paper the railroad was their last vacation stop on the way home from Myrtle Beach, S.C.

"Now we have to go back and face reality," said Waldie.

The train rides will be back on track next Saturday.

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