You see the tracks, ties and gravel. Every five years all of it has to be replaced depending on the train traffic. Curves wear out the most. This was fascinating.
From that 3am morning Village Inn breakfast in Santa Teresa with the RRers, we were pointed in a new direction: we have to find Tahy, a RRer who works on the UP’s smaller Curve gang that travel more than all the other gangs. He called while we were talking to the tie guys. Tahy said, “We’ll be in Benson for two days next month.” Traveling more than other gangs couldn’t be possible because we are having trouble keeping up but we had to find out. So we targeted a curve gang working just outside Benson, AZ.
Thousands of train murals and artwork in communities across the nation centered around the railroads and its expansion. These images are very interesting to me because I am always curious to know how the Natives are represented.
We spend the day driving to various crossings in the surrounding area but do not have any luck finding the gang. This specialized gang replaces only the curved part of the tracks, over a certain percentage of a bend in the track. So that means these curvy areas of track are far from the towns. We don’t see them driving down the highway.
After an unsuccessful day, we arrive late in the evening to find the RRers eating dinner while standing. This is a common sighting. They eat the quickest meals anywhere.
The curve gang does not stay more than 3-4 days in one location. We hoped to catch the gang loading the buses to work on a curve west of Benson. After a bit of bush whacking, we locate the buses and film from a safe distance.
While the gang worked, an unknown Navajo worker told us about a gang we need to film: the 9001. “If you think this is good, ” he says, “Go check them out because they are something to see.”
Sitting down to dinner in a Mexican Restaurant with mediocre salsa. (I don’t think oregano should be put in salsa because that is a weird fusion.) So we found Tahy and at the table is a new hire, a young worker with less than two years RR experience. We found our young Railroader just starting out for Union Pacific that we are looking for!!
We follow them back to their motel to interview how life is going for this young guy and get more details about the job on a curve gang. We bring them beef jerky for their road trip and say goodnight.